Fire and Ice: When Disasters Double Up

While the massive winter storm dumped snow all over the country, Red Crossers were hard at work sheltering people from the storm. However, that wasn’t the only disaster happening – the extra cold weather didn’t stop house fires from happening.  Every single day, Red Cross chapters across the nation respond to home and apartment fires, providing canteen services for firefighters and assisting families who’ve lost everything.

Below is an excerpt from a blog post by Cindy Erickson, a Red Cross worker from St. Louis who was called out in the middle of a storm to help with an apartment fire. Read the entire post on the St. Louis Chapter Blog.

“Six or seven families were affected by the fire, so the landlord opened up an empty apartment for us to do our casework. While Becky and Elaine began casework, Kathrine and I canteened the first responders. Whether it was hot cocoa or coffee or punch, the firefighters and first responders were so appreciative. They kept saying, “thank you. Thank you for coming out!” And I was like, “No. Thank YOU!” They’re the ones risking their lives, and yet they’re thanking us for the warm drinks and cookies? All I could think was, “it’s just a cup of coffee.” But I could see it in their face and I knew the difference it made.”

“It wasn’t until our feet got wet that I remembered just how cold it was. The apartment complex was on a hill, so as the firemen worked to put out the fire, the remaining water rushed down the already icy, snow-covered hill where we all stood. It didn’t stop us though. We had families to take care of. And I couldn’t help but think that this is what our volunteers do practically every night.”

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