Red Cross Steps In To Help Fire Victims - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

07/21/04

Red Cross Steps In To Help Fire Victims

Quick action by the Red Cross and four casino resorts helped supply 28 hotel rooms for those who needed a place to stay after a July 18th fire. Former residents spent Wednesday sifting through the ashes at the Saxony Apartments.

Ten apartment units burned out completely, leaving fire victims with the challenge of putting their lives back together.

That's when agencies like the American Red Cross step in--to help bring a sense of relief to people trying recover from a disaster.

Salvage workers combed apartment 203 finding very little to box up for keeps or restoration.

Seven doors down, Martha Williams is counting her blessings.

Williams said, "I didn't lose anything, but obviously there was smoke, residue in my apartment; on my clothing, my carpet, everything. And I've tried to spend my time doing that--getting it clean."

Williams was one of three people transported to the hospital during the fire. She had her heart checked and returned home to find Red Cross volunteers waiting for her.

She said, "They came and offered their love first of all, then told us that we had a place to stay, and food to eat, and they would be sure that we were all right."

But the work of the American Red Cross is far from over.

Volunteers spent much of Wednesday processing applications for help from Saxony Apartment residents.

Pete Peterson, an American Red Cross Volunteer, said "After something's happened, we want to make sure they have shelter, clothes on their backs and something to eat. Those folks that were burned out completely didn't have anything, obviously. That's what they're looking for, and that's what we're trying to help them with."

But rebuilding takes time, love and money.

Oscar Barnes with the Red Cross said, "When we have a disaster like this it hits a little harder blow, because there are so many people involved. The cost rises, and the funds are certainly needed to help them get their lives back together."

The Red Cross is using money from its local disaster fund to help out victims of the Saxony fire. Money from this fund is used year-round to help disaster victims right here in our area.

If you would like to use your time or money to help out, call the local chapter of the Red Cross at 228-896-4511.

Toni Miles

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