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Red Cross Assisting Residents After Woonsocket Fire; Shelter Open Tonight

The Red Cross is working one-on-one with families to assess their needs.

WOONSOCKET, R.I., April 9, 2015 – The American Red Cross is responding to a multi-unit building fire on Ascension Street in Woonsocket. The Red Cross responded to the scene at approximately 2:00 a.m. on Thursday and shortly thereafter opened a shelter to provide a safe, warm place for residents to stay. The Red Cross is working with 40 residents in 31 families that were displaced by the fire.

Throughout the day, Red Cross team members met one-on-one with residents to assess their needs. The Red Cross is providing assistance for residents to replace essentials including food, clothing and household needs. Breakfast, lunch and dinner have been provided to the displaced residents waiting at the shelter. The shelter will remain open tonight for residents who were not able to make alternate arrangements for overnight housing.

On Friday, the Red Cross plans to serve breakfast to residents and continue working with residents and with local officials and community partners to begin long term recovery planning, said Elizabeth McDonald, Senior Director of Emergency Services with the Rhode Island Chapter.

McDonald also thanked the volunteers who have been supporting the relief operation since 2:00 a.m. Thursday. “We are so fortunate to have caring, dedicated volunteers who give so freely of their time and skill to help,” McDonald said. Volunteers responding to assist through Thursday night are Paul Jones, Melissa Shires, Zanetta hunter, Steve Carr, Dave Homerston, Paul LaGreca, Chanell Marte, Henry Lesieur, Kathy LaGreca, Cosmos Aduojaiye, Joanne Ramsey, Charlie Beaudoin, Diane Fagan, Janice Wilk, Diane Hashway and Lily Massiwer.

The Red Cross is also providing comfort kits containing personal care items such as toothbrushes, deodorant, shaving supplies and other items a resident might not have been able to gather in the rush to escape the fire. Also provided was an envelope containing information helpful to families recovering from a fire, including tips on cleanup; notification of important contacts; dealing with damaged items and more.


The American Red Cross has launched a campaign to reduce deaths and injuries caused by home fires by 25% in five years. There are two actions you can take to substantially reduce the risk of death or injury in a home fire.

Install smoke alarms: Working smoke alarms cut the risk of dying in a fire in half. Install smoke alarms on every level of your home inside bedrooms and sleeping areas.

Practice fire drills at home: Fire experts agree that you may have as little as 2 minutes to escape a burning home before it’s too late to get out. Use this Home Fire Escape Plan worksheet to plan your evacuation and practice it at least twice a year as a family.

Learn more about the Red Cross home fire prevention campaign.

Fire takes everything. It takes security. It takes safety, dignity and routine. Help the Red Cross give back what fire takes – the items that provide safety and comfort.