You are using an outdated browser. Please upgrade your browser to improve your experience.

Western and Central NY Volunteers Respond to Six Christmas Day Disasters

Fire Safety
Unfortunately, disaster never takes a holiday

Volunteers from the American Red Cross, Western and Central New York Region responded to six separate disasters on Christmas Day, providing immediate emergency assistance to 25 people. Red Cross assistance typically includes vouchers for temporary housing, food and clothing as needed, and Disaster Mental Health volunteers are available to help with the emotional aspect of disaster. Those affected will meet with caseworkers in the coming days to work on a longer-term recovery plan.

“Unfortunately, disaster never takes a holiday,” said Rosie Taravella, Regional Chief Executive Officer. “I want to thank the volunteers who took time away from their families to help their neighbors in need, and the supporters who allow the Red Cross to be there for people who have nowhere else to turn following disasters 365 days a year.”

A listing of the fires Disaster Action Team (DAT) responded to Thursday is as follows, listed by Chapter:

Western New York Chapter:

  • Broadway, Buffalo (Erie County)
  • Three people assisted (evacuation due to neighboring building collapse)

    Volunteers: Fred Pask, Nicole Roma, Pete Swales

  • Willard Street, Jamestown (Chautauqua County)
  • Five people assisted (fire)

    Volunteers: Phil Baker, Jeanie Shiffer

  • Main Street, Arcade (Wyoming County)
  • Five people assisted (fire)

    Volunteers: Brian Brown, Julie Rapp

    Greater Rochester Chapter:

  • Alexander Street, Rochester (Monroe County)
  • One person assisted (fire)

    Volunteers: Bill Platt and James Robinson

  • Route 21 South, Manchester (Ontario County)
  • Four people assisted (fire)

    Volunteers: Juli Bixby, Laura Dean, Angela Fisher and Ellie Fisher (Finger Lakes Chapter assisted in response)

    Southern Tier Chapter:

  • Smithville (Chenango County)
  • Seven people assisted

    This year, the American Red Cross helped more people affected by home fires than all other disasters combined. Volunteers from the Western and Central New York Region responded at all hours of the day to help more than 3,380 people with nowhere else to turn after home fires from January 1 to December 1, 2014.

    Because of the high number of home fires in this country, the Red Cross launched a campaign this year to reduce the number of home fire deaths and injuries by 25 percent over the next five years. The organization is asking every household in America to take two simple steps: check their existing smoke alarms and practice fire drills at home. As part of the Home Fire Preparedness Campaign, the Red Cross is providing smoke detectors to residents free of charge.

    In addition to the Home Fire Preparedness Campaign, the Red Cross is also partnering with New York State to offer free Citizen Preparedness Corps Training. A trained Red Cross representative will provide a comprehensive overview on how to prepare for, respond to and recover from natural and man-made disasters. A 15-minute online version of this program is also available at  (select Red Cross from the referral dropdown menu).

    For more information on the Home Fire Preparedness Campaign or to schedule an in-person Citizen Preparedness Corps training, please contact Individual and Community Preparedness Specialist Veronica Chiesi Brown at 585-241-4405 or

    Our work is made possible by the generosity of the American public. You can help people affected by disasters big and small by making a gift to Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables us to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters. You can donate by visiting, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Your donation helps provide food, shelter and emotional support to those affected by disasters.