The Prince George’s County Office of Emergency Management (OEM) announced, May 5, the mandatory evacuation of residents from a section of 28 homes in the Piscataway Hills community near Fort Washington due to a slope failure that collapsed a portion of Piscataway Drive, resulting in water main and sewer failure. Further roadway failure is occurring.

Prince George’s County Emergency Management Director Ronald Gill told the AFRO “The last three or four days, we’ve had water main breaks. We had power outages, road and slope failures, all due to the water leaks. Some residents may have to stay out of their homes longer than others.”

Limited access to water/sewer services and transportation by public safety responders impacted residents on Piscataway Drive, which is a wooded dead-end road.

Press secretary for the county executive office, Scott L. Peterson said some houses are “unsafe” and some are “unfit.”

“Unfit homes don’t have water or fire protection in their homes,” Peterson told the AFRO. “Unsafe homes are near the slope failures and may take longer to fix.”

In order to assist evacuated residents, Emergency Management is establishing a temporary reception center.

County officials are working directly with the impacted residents of this community to ensure their safety, as well as communicating regular status updates of the situation in a timely manner.

Hunter Martin has a wife and three kids and plans on moving out of his house immediately.

“We plan on moving out of our house this evening and staying at a hotel for three weeks because that’s usually when the insurance kicks in,” Hunter told the AFRO. After those three weeks, I don’t know at this point. The roads have been shifting for a while, but this weekend it shifted a lot. Nobody knew what was going to happen. Everybody thought they would get the water main repaired and it would be a quick fix and we would be out, but it just wasn’t the case. Then the trees started falling Saturday and Sunday and that’s when we knew it was a bigger issue.”

Construction has already begun, but there is no specific timetable at this point when residents will be able to move back into their homes.

The unfit house residents can move in once their water is turned back on, according to Gill.

As for the unsafe houses, once the slopes and roads are fixed, they can move back in.


Courtney Jacobs

AFRO Staff Writer