A vigil will be held Thursday evening, Feb. 23, in honor of Melanie Diaz, 25, the victim who was killed in a high-rise apartment fire at the Arrive apartment complex in Silver Spring on Feb. 18, according to a statement posted on social media by her family.
“To honor and celebrate the life of the 25-year-old woman, Melanie Diaz, and her two puppies (Samantha and Ella) we invite all residents and neighbors to join us for a vigil outside the [building] tomorrow (2/23/2023) at 5:00 p.m.,” the statement read.
According to the statement, the vigil is being held to “to mourn and learn about Melanie Diaz and celebrate her life.”
“We hope to provide a safe space for our community to come together and grieve and come out of this tragedy stronger,” the statement read.
Diaz’s family has set up a GoFundMe to raise money for her funeral arrangements and family travel expenses. The fundraiser has raised $29,440, surpassing the original $10,000 goal. She was a 2021 graduate of Georgetown University and was described as a “ray of sunshine.” After graduation, Diaz began her career in Washington, D.C., and established her residence in Maryland, according to her GoFundMe page.
Diaz’s employer, The Aspen Institute, where she worked for two years, released a statement in response to her passing and stated that its team was “devastated by the recent passing.” The statement described her as “a truly kind, thoughtful and caring human being.”
According to the Aspen Institute, Diaz took care of her co-workers and friends, and went out of her way to support others.
“We know she will be terribly missed by all who knew her,” the statement read.
Diaz was the only reported fatality in the three-alarm fire that injured at least 15 residents and sent three firefighters to the hospital. One resident was reported to be in critical condition and three pets died in the fire, including Diaz’s two puppies.