Red Cross and Salvation Army Partner to Assist Fire Victims

Disasters are not scheduled.  They don’t arrive at convenient times; they don’t provide their victims with advanced warning and they don’t assist with picking up the pieces of victims’ lives after their fury has passed.  When disaster strikes, the emotional toll on its victims can oftentimes overshadow the loss of material possessions.  But thanks to the quick response of volunteer organizations like the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army, 17 families of a Jacksonville, NC apartment building, engulfed by fire yesterday, are already beginning the necessary steps to return to normal.

Shortly after noon yesterday, Jacksonville firefighters were called to battle flames in a 20-unit apartment building.  As residents watched fire, smoke, and water damage many of their possessions, the Onslow County Chapter of the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army sprang into action to provide affected residents with immediate emergency needs including shelter, food, clothing, supplies, referrals, and emotional support.

Carla McCray replaces a lock on her fire-damaged apartment.

Carla McCray replaces a lock on her fire-damaged apartment.

Carla McCray, a Salvation Army store employee and apartment resident, received a call yesterday afternoon from her landlord telling her of the multi-unit fire and that her apartment was potentially heavily damaged.  Upon arriving at the scene minutes later, she found Red Cross volunteers already on-hand providing food, water, blankets, comfort and assistance.

“They [the Red Cross] showed up so fast,” McCray said.  “Shortly thereafter, the Salvation Army arrived as well and both organizations quickly went to work to help us assess our needs to get us back on our feet.  They provided food, blankets, vouchers for clothes & furniture – I really have no idea what I would have done without them.”

Last year, the Eastern NC Region of the American Red Cross responded to 639 home fires and assisted 2,489 residents with immediate emergency needs.  Nationally, Red Cross volunteers help a family affected by a home/apartment fire or other disaster 190 times a day, or once every 8 minutes.  Disaster assistance can include shelter or temporary lodging, comfort kits (including stuffed animals for affected children), cleanup kits, financial assistance for food, clothing, seasonal garments, linens, mental health counseling and much more.

Happy endings, like Carla’s, are only made possible by the charitable donations of people like you to the American Red Cross, the Salvation Army, and the selfless dedication of thousands of volunteers nationwide.

“I am just so very thankful to all the volunteers who came to help us,” said McCray.  “The [building’s] owner offered many of us new apartments at one of his other properties across the street.  The volunteers helped me and other tenants salvage what we could and move our belongings to the new apartments.  Without the assistance and compassion that we received from the Red Cross and the Salvation Army, I don’t know how we would have managed this disaster.  By tomorrow evening, it’ll almost feel like it never happened and I can’t thank them enough.”

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