Centreville fire victim fights to get dentures back
Wednesday marks two weeks since a massive fire destroyed a senior living facility in Centreville. And for one of the elderly fire victims, it also marks two weeks without the dentures she needs to eat most solid foods.
"I'm at ground zero. I'm starting over with everything," Tina Duncan said. "I have my front teeth, but no back teeth at all."
When Duncan evacuated during the fire, she wasn't wearing her dentures and had to leave them behind.
And though firefighters were able to recover a few personal items from her damaged apartment, Duncan has now been told it’s unsafe to go back inside to get her dentures.
"From the outside, my windows made it look like my apartment was intact," she said. “I was on the second floor.”
Property management and Fairfax County officials say it's not that simple. Even two weeks later, they say the building remains unstable and the floors in many units aren't safe to walk on, making the apartments inaccessible.
Duncan says she's fortunate to have family members in the area, who she can stay with as she searches for a new home.
But she says it's been tough to move forward without her dentures, and she simply cannot afford to replace them on her own. That's something she's tried to explain to the county's Coordinated Services Planning Department.
"Well, they told me to go get an exam and bring them back the receipt. But I'm saying, OK, they're telling us to go buy these things, but we don't have the funds to buy them," Duncan said.
It's a dilemma that many of her elderly neighbors displaced by the fire are now dealing with.
"When you are faced with a situation like this which was so unexpected, I think a little more compassion dealing with the people involved would be great," Duncan said.