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Polk County, Iowa Families Thank the Red Cross After Large Fire

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"Just the Red Cross standing out there with us was more important than anything." Amy Judge said

Three families in Runnells, Iowa, are crediting the American Red Cross for helping them get back on their feet after a massive fire. One resident, who wished to remain anonymous, said his Chow Chow dog saved his life when he alerted him to the fire that had engulfed his living area. The fire produced extensive smoke damage leaving him with very little.

"I lost everything," he said.

The Red Cross stepped in and provided him with money for groceries, replaced his eyeglasses that were lost in the fire and found him temporary housing."The Red Cross was there right away after the fire," he said. "They gave me a place to stay until I could get back into the house."

Matthew Devores' nearby apartment was also heavily damaged in this fire. 

"We had no power for close to a month and black smoke damage because of the fire," he said.

The fire, which destroyed a nearby mechanical shop, also knocked out power to several living areas and apartments near the fire.

"I don't know how it would have worked out," Devores said. "None of us could afford a hotel, money was tight".

The Red Cross set up a tent outside to assist these families in the area.

"I would definitely recommend the Red Cross." Devores said. "If not for the Red Cross, we would have had to stay in the house or camp outside."

Amy Judge also had extensive smoke damage in her home. The smoke ruined clothing and her furniture. The Red Cross was able to provde housing so she and her family could stay in the area and continue to work at their jobs.

"We would have had to move away to stay with family, and possibly lost our jobs," Judge said. "They (Red Cross) helped us find a hotel and were there very quickly. Just the Red Cross standing out there with us was more important than anything."