YARNELL (July 24, 2013) – The day the Yarnell Hill Fire broke out last month, Stephanie Gamage stepped outside to water her neighbor’s lawn and noticed that the air was filled with smoke.
“I was here and didn’t even know there was a fire,” Gamage said from her Yarnell home. “I was watching TV and was on the phone with my daughter, and I went out to see if I needed to water the lawn. I saw smoke, and a neighbor told me they were evacuating. It was very smoky – and scary.”
Gamage nursed her broken-down car onto the street to evacuate. “I saw a lot of flames in the rearview mirror, but there was a line of cars, and we had to wait a long time to move,” Gamage said.
After Gamage arrived at the American Red Cross Grand Canyon Chapter’s shelter at Wickenburg High School, she received much-needed information, as well as a visit from her insurance agent. When she returned to Yarnell, Red Cross volunteers brought her cleaning supplies in an emergency response vehicle. They stopped by twice more, with additional supplies, food and bottled water.
“Other houses around me have been burned,” she said, “and mine was spared. … I am blessed.”
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. It’s a nonprofit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. The Grand Canyon Chapter, established in 1916, re-chartered in 1999 and expanded in 2003, ranks as the fifth-largest chapter nationally, serving the more than 5.1 million people in Apache, Coconino, Gila, La Paz, Maricopa, Mohave, Navajo, Pinal, Yavapai and Yuma counties. For more information on the Grand Canyon Chapter, please visit www.redcross.org/gcc, like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/redcrossgcc or follow us on Twitter under the handle @RedCrossGCC.