Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

GU Community Raises Thousands for Leo’s Employee After Apartment Fire

Georgetown University students have raised over $11,500 as of April 18 to support Quintina Daniels, an employee at Leo J. O’Donovan Dining Hall (Leo’s), after a fire engulfed her apartment March 29 and left her near homelessness. 

Julian Barrios Cristales (CAS ’26), started the campaign for Daniels, whom students affectionately know as “Ms. Tina,” after learning she had lost nearly all of her possessions in the fire and was soon to be unhoused. As of April 18, the campaign had amassed over $11,000 from 607 donors — well above its original $2,000 goal. 

When Cristales showed Daniels the amount of money students raised after one day of the fundraiser, Daniels said she could barely contain her relief and excitement. 

“It just started raining, and I went outside, and I just start screaming, just being thankful,” Daniels told The Hoya. “I haven’t seen hail balls in a long time, and they were the size of mothballs, and I was just letting the rain and the mothballs just hit me. And it just felt like everything was just washing away. It felt so refreshing,”

Cristales said he became friends with Daniels in the spring of 2023, with the two since coming to know each other on a personal level. 

“Quintina is the type of person that’s so loving, so high energy,” Cristales said. “She truly cares for us kids. In a way, she treats us like her own kids.”

Cristales said he was inspired to start the fundraiser after Daniels told him about the fire and her family’s struggle to find reliable housing. 

“The feeling sat with me inside. So, I was sitting on the lawn with some friends, I was there for like an hour and I just kept pondering. I kept turning in my stomach, and I was like I guess I can start a GoFundMe and just post on Instagram,” Cristales said. 

The Georgetown University community has raised more than 11,500 dollars in support of Quintina Daniels, an employee in Leo’s dining hall, following a fire that destroyed her apartment. || Courtesy of Quintina Daniels

According to Daniels, the fire started after her stovetop overheated and burst into flames. Daniels said she had turned it on to keep warm, but as she went to turn it off, the stove lit up in flames. 

“By the time I got to my kitchen, that’s when I see just blazes,” Daniels said. “I just got to screaming and I stopped throwing water on it since I think I made it worse by trying to throw water on it.” 

Daniels attempted to pull the fire alarm, which turned out to be broken, before calling 911. Although the fire department quickly put out the fire and evacuated the building safely, Daniels said her landlord did not arrive until hours after and has since cut off all communications with her and her family. 

“He took the phone off,” Daniels said. “There’s no connection. Everything is just no communication. When you do get in contact with him, it’s always just missing off the phone. ‘I’m gonna call you back’ and he doesn’t.”

Under Washington, D.C.’s housing code, Daniels’ landlord must pay her relocation assistance while her unit is being rehabilitated, but Daniels said she has been forced to pay for housing through the GoFundMe’s donations instead. 

“When it comes to my housing situation, I will try to seek more legal action,” Daniels said. “My situation is illegal right now.”

The apartment fire is not the first one Daniels has experienced. Daniels said her apartment exploded, displacing her family and destroying her possessions, when she was 13 in 1994.

“It was a real traumatic event to experience at 13,” Daniels said. “I was displaced out of my home. We lost everything. The whole building, the whole sidewalk, the whole complex crumpled in front of our face.” 

Jordan Forbes (SFS ’27) said she saw a link to the GoFundMe on a friend’s Instagram story and decided to donate in an effort to give back to university staff.

“They work so hard, they deserve the world from us, they do everything for us,” Forbes told The Hoya. “If I can help her maybe worry a little bit less about one of these parts of this awful situation, then it will be worth it.”

Until Daniels can find stable housing, Cristales said he and his teammates on the men’s varsity soccer team will continue to help her. The team hosted a volunteer pieing event in Red Square to raise funds for Daniels April 18

Cristales said it is important for the Georgetown community to take time to build meaningful relationships with hospitality and maintenance staff. 

“You never know what other people are going through so sometimes a conversation or another nice gesture can make their day,” Cristales said. “Be a good neighbor in whatever way you can.”

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