Fires at Opposite Ends of Vermont -- Winter Still With Us

For too many of our neighbors, this winter that never ends has been a lot tougher than just cold temperatures and cloudy skies...

Fires at opposite ends of the state are latest in busy winter. Red Cross supports the displaced and first responders.

As we start our day amidst sleet and rain, complaints will cross many of our lips. However, for too many of our neighbors, this winter that never ends has been a lot tougher than just cold temperatures and cloudy skies. It seems, at times, that house and apartment fires have been as much a part of the season as snowballs and skiing. Last night was no different.

Red Cross disaster services volunteers from Franklin County were on scene last night at a single-family house fire at 4356 West Berkshire Road in Berkshire, VT. The family of four (parents, their adult daughter and a grandchild) were all displaced from the home that sustained major damage. The family made arrangements for their own lodging, but the Red Cross assisted with financial support to help with food, clothing and storage containers. In addition, the volunteers provided rehabilitative support in the form of food and hydration to the first responders at the scene.

Late Wednesday, members of our Bennington County Disaster Action Team assisted a gentleman left homeless after fires struck his 60 Lincoln Street home in Pownal. He had a place to stay locally, but the Red Cross volunteers extended a helping hand through financial assistance for food, clothing and bedding.

Just three years ago, Red Cross volunteers in our region responded to 106 events, predominately house and apartment fires. Those numbers have steadily climbed. For our fiscal year 2011, that number climbed to 117, in 2012 the number hit 137 and this year it is projected to be in the range of 155 to 160 responses.

The American Red Cross is always seeking new volunteers, an effort that helps the organization maintain its ability to provide timely and compassionate assistance to people across our region impacted by disaster. To be a part of our group of dedicated volunteers, no prior experience is necessary and all the training you will need is free and will be provided. To find out more about becoming an American Red Cross volunteer, go to www.redcross.org/vermont or contact Angela Russell at 802-660-9130, ext. 107 or angela.russell@redcross.org.

To help people affected by fires as well as devastating natural disasters, a donation can be made to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for and provide shelter, food, emotional support and other assistance in response to disasters. Visit www.redcross.org, call 802-660-9130, text REDCROSS to 90999, ext. 111, or mail your contribution to American Red Cross, 29 Mansfield Avenue, Burlington, VT 0540.