New state law requires high-rise buildings to have smoke detectors, family continues to fight for fire safety legislation after daughter's death

  • Source: WUSA-TV CBS 9 Washington, D.C.
  • Published: 05/17/2024 12:00 AM

You can’t miss the display honoring Melanie Diaz on Georgia Avenue in Silver Spring. Her father, Cesar Diaz, makes sure the memorial grows with every visit. “I try not to look at the building, I try to look at my daughter’s memory and the tree," said Diaz, who planted a cherry blossom tree in memory of Melanie. It replaces a tree that was chopped down by rescuers the day of her death in February 2023. “For me it’s like a symbol for people to remember what happened here and how beautiful my daughter’s life was losing, because people cut corners and because they cut corners, she’s not here today,” said Diaz who travels with his family to Maryland from their home in Florida. Officials said Melanie died from smoke inhalation and that a lack of a functioning smoke alarm system and functioning sprinkler system contributed to the magnitude of the fire.


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