Red Cross ‘stretched thin’ following several recent fires

Dozens of people are without homes just about a week before the Thanksgiving holiday after multiple fires damaged homes over the past eight days in western Mass
Published: Nov. 16, 2022 at 5:55 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 16, 2022 at 6:21 PM EST
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SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - Dozens of people are without homes just about a week before the Thanksgiving holiday after multiple fires damaged homes over the past eight days in western Massachusetts. Now, the Red Cross is stretched thin.

On Wednesday morning, the Red Cross responded to 389 Wilbraham Road in Springfield where 11 people called home. The three generations of one family, with multiple small children, have all been displaced because of a fire.

Wednesday’s fire marked the seventh fire in the past eight days that has forced people out of their homes, just about a week before Thanksgiving. On November 8, the Red Cross assisted with two house fires, one in Millers Falls and one in Holyoke. Twenty-one people were displaced by those two fires. On November 11, one family in Leeds was displaced and on November 14, five people in a Chicopee house fire, 15 people in a Springfield fire, and two people in a Westfield fire were all displaced. If you add to the list the 10 people the Red Cross is now helping from the Wilbraham Road fire, that’s 57 people involved in seven fires, across eight days.

“In the past week, we’ve seen a spike in home fires. Not unexpected, because we generally see a spike when the temperatures drop,” said Mary Nathan, disaster program manager for the Red Cross.

Western Mass News cameras caught the Red Cross’ disaster action team in action Wednesday morning. The organization has volunteers who respond to disasters like house fires and provided care, support, and temporary housing for victims. However, Nathan told us they desperately need more volunteers.

“We are very much stretched thin…We need to be available for whenever there is a fire and it takes a lot of volunteers because not everyone is always available,” Nathan explained.

She also said the Red Cross relies on donations to help out these victims. That’s why they are always calling on the community to help out.

“Anything that anyone could give, you can go to redcross.org and there’s a ‘Donate’ button and that all helps and as fires go up, obviously, we are spending more and more money,” Nathan noted.

You can CLICK HERE to learn more about how you can help the Red Cross.