Wednesday, August 17, 2011

“I can’t say enough good things about the Red Cross…”

Photo: Stephen Johnson
When Lillian R. from Staten Island and her eight-year-old son returned home from an appointment one summer day, they saw two Red Cross vans and about 15 fire trucks in front of her building, where a fire was still smoldering. Lillian said, “When I saw the fire, I felt overwhelmed; I’d only been living there since November. I’m a single parent, and it was frightening.” Two of Lillian’s three sons, her 8 and 17-year-olds, still live at home; her 18-year-old lives on his own.

As scared as she was, Lillian was relieved to see Red Cross relief workers at the scene because she knew they would provide help right away. This was not Lillian’s first fire. “When my oldest boys were 6 and 7, I was living in Manhattan and had a fire,” she said. “The Red Cross helped me for a few days, put me in a hotel, assisted me with carfare and food. It’s a comfort when you see them.”

Lillian’s building in Staten Island was seriously damaged and it’s unclear if her apartment will be repaired before her lease is up later in the year. Fortunately, she and her two sons are staying with a friend for now, and Lillian is confident that the Red Cross will help her going forward. Her Red Cross caseworker has referred her to a NYC agency that will help her secure long-term housing for herself and her family.

“I can’t say enough good things about the Red Cross and the work they do,” Lillian said. “They are a blessing for families coming out of fires with nowhere to go. They are so kind and caring and they provide you with as much assistance as possible. They really go the extra mile for you.”

Monday, August 8, 2011

3-alarm SoHo fire survivor shares his frightening experience via comment

Photo: Richardo Nelson
Jorge Suarez, a resident who lived on the top floor of the building the was engulfed in a 3-alarm fire last Friday, posted this comment on the Gothamist about what it was like to survive that fire and how the Red Cross was able to provide him with some comfort:
I lived there until last night (I'm the guy in the blue Barcelona shirt in picture number 8). Not a single fire alarm was working. The folks who found out first were the ones who were awake because their power went out and they investigated by checking the hallways - which turned out to be full of smoke. I was asleep on the top floor and woke up for reasons as yet unknown to me. I had the time to grab my keys, phone and wallet and went outside into the staircase, where the smoke was so thick I couldn't see my feet. I called out for help and a firefighter grabbed me and put my arm on the railing by the stairs. He told me to hang on to the railing and make my way down quickly. I'm still spitting up blood from the irritation in my throat, a result of breathing in that much smoke. The Red Cross has been very helpful - they donated me a pair of shoes and got me put up in a hotel for the next three nights. I have spent the last few hours buying clothes and necessities because according to the fire department and Red Cross, I most likely no longer have any physical possessions left to salvage in my apartment. Turns out as a fire climbs upward, when it hits the top floor it runs out of vertical room to grow and moves in all directions horizontally. Thus the sixth floor erupted into flames and those of us on the sixth have most likely lost absolutely everything. 
Source: Gothamist

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Video: 24 Hours with the American Red Cross

24 hours per day, seven days a week, the American Red Cross is there proving comfort, support and humanitarian assistance to those that need it the most.

With your generous support, you help mobilize direct relief and comfort year round, across the country and around the world. You're also a foundation for our readiness work – helping people prevent, prepare for and respond to life's emergencies.