Red Cross helps fire victims

Volunteers responded to huge apartment fire

Tuesday, February 8, 2011 - 4:49pm

BATON ROUGE, La (FOX44) -- More than 50 people are homeless after a huge fire gutted an apartment complex on North Carrollton Drive Monday night, but the families effected are in good hands.

Tuesday morning, more than 50 fire victims are picking up the pieces, thanks to some help from the local chapter of the Red Cross. "Most of these clients have no home to go home to," says Nancy Malone with the Red Cross.

Around seven Monday night, the Oak Village Apartments caught fire. It took almost an hour for firefighters to get the blaze under control. In that time, 37 apartments were destroyed. "This is a very large scene," says Malone. "It was incredible last night to see how people were responding to help one another."

Volunteers were at that apartment complex, helping in any way that they could. They provided blankets and water, and put victims up in hotels for the evening.

"We're providing immediate needs," says Dory Cayten with the Red Cross in Houston.
 

Red Cross trains for emergencies like this, but Monday night's fire is the largest they've seen since 2009. The organization was impressed by the volunteer response, and the response from the victims. "We always see resiliency in people," says Malone. "It's very difficult. They're in a hard place, but they're showing humanity even with one another."

Red Cross normally assists victims for about three days, but this time, the timeline is unsure. Officials with the organization expect many of these families to need long-term help.

"If someone lost everything in the apartment, they're going to need pots and pans, bedding, a place to sleep," says Cayten.

Red Cross needs help too, to make sure that families, like the ones impacted by the fire, can start rebuilding their lives. "Come aboard with us, and let us train you for the next time this happens, because there is always a next time," says Malone.

Red Cross responded to more than 500 disasters in 2010. Most of them were fire-related.

To volunteer or donate to Red Cross you can go to their website at www.batonrouge.redcross.org

You can also call at (225) 291-4533 or mail a donation to 4655 Sherwood Common Blvd. Baton Rouge, LA 70816

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