Red Cross Aids Those Who Lost Homes in Fire

Red Cross Aids Those Who Lost Homes in Fire

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Jed Boal ReportingTwo weeks ago, more than forty people fled their homes when fire ripped through the Stratford Hotel in Salt Lake City. Most escaped with only the clothes on their backs, but help from the community quickly sheltered them.

June 29th, terrified residents of the Stratford Hotel stood at their windows and hoped firefighters could rescue them. James Miranda and other 40-plus residents were asleep when it started.

James Miranda, Former Stratford Resident: "After the fire hit, it pretty much took off and the third floor was gone."

Joe Hamilton, Former Stratford Resident: "Looked out and I seen the black smoke and fire on the wall and grabbed my shorts and shoes and ran out down the stairs."

They escaped, but lost all they had. Huddled the parking lot, some feared they'd end up living in that parking lot; then help arrived.

Calvin VanWinkle, Stratford Resident: "They gave us good food while we were out there, got us some clothes right away, gave us a voucher for groceries, for our rooms. Otherwise we'd be out on the sidewalks or streets, whatever."

The people chased out of their rooms by the fire don't have the kind of money to pick up and move on. It was only through the generosity of the community and the Red Cross that they found other places to live.

Joe Hamilton, Former Stratford Resident: "Kind of let us know that there's people gonna help and not be displaced, or have nowhere to go."

The Greater Salt Lake Chapter of the Red Cross found shelter for all of the residents who wanted it.

Mariann Geyer, Greater Salt Lake Chapter of the American Red Cross: "We have a group of 400 trained volunteers. We've got a staff and we've got a community that finds it within their generosity to invest to help people like those involved in the Stratford fire."

A month's rent, food, help enough to move ahead.

James Miranda, Former Stratford Resident: "You have to go forward that's all you can do. Some of the personal items you lose are lost. You can't cry about it; you have to go on."

The Red Cross spent 17-thousand dollars on this relocation, all of it from local donations. Nationally and locally the Red Cross responds to more family house fires than any other kind of disaster.

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