(ASHEVILLE, N.C., Oct. 18, 2017) – Working with emergency management partners, the American Red Cross Asheville – Mountain Area Chapter opened a shelter at the City of Asheville Stephens Lee Recreation Center for families impacted by a fire at the Aston Park Towers apartments Tuesday evening. Red Cross disaster trained volunteers responded to the fire where they met with residents. Once it was determined more than 2 dozen people would be displaced, the decision was made to open the shelter.
"The Asheville area community pulls together when there is a crisis," said Jerri Jameson, regional communications officer, American Red Cross Western North Carolina Region. "For families displaced by this fire, it took multiple agencies working together to provide a safe, clean place for the impacted families to await when they will be allowed back into their apartments, if at all."
Working with officials from the Asheville Fire Department, Buncombe County Emergency Management, Asheville Housing Authority, and the Asheville Tourists, a plan was put into place Wednesday to allow shelter residents twice a day opportunities to shower at the Asheville Tourists McCormick Field facilities located near the shelter.
"We have always viewed McCormick Field as a place for community gathering, whether that occurs during good times or bad times," said Brian DeWine, Asheville Tourists President. "The ballpark is needed for a reason other than baseball right now, and we are glad we could assist fellow community members during this time."
It is unclear when residents will be allowed back into their apartments. Meanwhile, the Red Cross will maintain the shelter while continue working with representatives from the Asheville Housing Authority to help until every family has transitioned to a safe place to stay.
At the shelter, residents receive a cot to sleep on, blankets, 3 meals a day, comfort hygiene items such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, combs and shampoo, and health and mental health assessment and assistance as needed.