Sadly, disasters don't take a holiday. For the residents of 214 Rockaway Parkway, Brooklyn, that was the case this July Fourth. American Red Cross disaster responders rushed to the scene around 2 a.m. on Friday morning, as a four-alarm fire tore through the six-story apartment building. It swept through several floors. Though the top two floors of the building suffered the most damage, the fire forced all the building’s residents, nearly 70 families, to flee their homes with no warning.
Red Cross teams provided emergency relief for all displaced. In conjunction with our partner agency, OEM, the Red Cross opened a reception center at a local school. There, throughout the early morning hours and the rest of the day, affected residents unable to return to their apartments due to unsafe conditions were provided with compassionate assistance—a safe place to stay, food, beverages, health services and emotional support.
That night, the Red Cross opened an emergency shelter at MS 366, located at 965 East 107th Street. There, Red Cross responders offered safe shelter to those who needed it and continued to provide meals, health services and a shoulder to lean on.
On Saturday, July 5, Red Cross teams set up a service center at MS 366 so that 21 families (48 adults and 29 children) could meet with caseworkers for help with next steps and to learn of additional services. The shelter closed that evening, after the Red Cross transitioned displaced residents to local hotels.
More than two dozen volunteers and staff members put their own holiday plans on hold to help those affected by this massive blaze. During this same time, the Greater New York Red Cross also responded to 13 other fires (11 in NYC, and three on Long Island), providing help and hope to more than 70 people.
In the days to come, the Red Cross will continue to assist those affected by the devastating July Fourth 4-alarm, as well as the other fires that occurred over the holiday weekend.
About the 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. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org/gny or visit us on Twitter at @RedCrossNY.