I stopped back at the apartment yesterday after work, but was told that the ninth floor was still completely off-limits, even for just taking a look or grabbing a few things. The building still looks pretty crazy - there are clean-up trucks all over the place. There is still glass all over the courtyard, and there are burnt pages of books and other papers fluttering around.
So Jeff made a Target run, picking up some essentials (socks, underwear, toothbrush...), and then Jeff and I stayed with Kris and Emma (thanks guys!). We had a nice time with them - they took us out to dinner at Lauriol Plaza, which was super nice (and tasty!).
This morning, Jeff and I went back to the apartment, thinking we had a good chance of getting in, at least to get a few things things. But they told us the ninth floor was still a no-go. We talked to Niyi - one of the people in our building management. He's been there practically 24 hours a day since the fire, keeping everyone informed.
Nobody was being allowed onto the ninth and tenth floor at all. He said there is soot all over the hallway and lots of water damage. In the other wing of the ninth floor, they're currently pulling down the outer half of the hallway walls (the sheet rock that faces into the hallway). They haven't even started to deal with our wing. With all this damage, it's not possible for people to live there, and won't be for a while. Niyi said that he will try hard to get us up to our apartment today or maybe tomorrow to see it and to pack a bag worth of stuff, but that it will probably be weeks, not days, until we can actually live there again.
However, he said that the damage within particular apartments varies quite a bit, and while he didn't remember specifically what 902 looked like, he said that, "Some of the apartments on your floor weren't devastated." He said he guessed that there is probably soot on things, but things like the computers should be ok.
In the building, you can still see the damage, even on the first floor. There are machines for sucking up water, and there is tape and coverings on the walls where there must have been water damage.
Jeff and I went around the back of the building to see if we could tell anything about our apartment from there. The good news is that the window of our apartment was not blown out - it's still in tact. The apartment right next to us, one apartment nearer to the fire-apartment, also has its windows in tact, but every other apartment between that one and the end of the building (where the fire was) has plywood windows now. So I guess we fared better then those people, but we're still pretty close to places with significant damage. It's impossible to tell anything further just looking at the window... but we tried.
Our Apartment (circled in red)
So what now? It works to crash in someone's living room for a day or two (thanks, again Kris and Emma!) but it seems unworkable to do that for a few weeks. So I think Jeff and I may try to move back to his parent's house outside Baltimore and work remotely from there for a while. That way, we'd have our own room, some of our clothes and other things are already there, and we could probably borrow a car to get back to DC when we needed to. That's just the thought at the moment... still not really sure what's going to happen.