Story told by Mandy McMahon
In February, Richard Duby and his beloved dog, Hobo, experienced a fire at his Greenville, SC, apartment.
“I was going to boil some chicken for my doggy, and the night before, I had made some homemade French fries with oil in a pot. Instead of turning on the chicken, I turned on the oil. Lo and behold, the whole kitchen caught on fire,” Richard describes the events that led to a fire displacing him and his dog.
Richard had stepped out while cooking when a neighbor called to assist him with changing a flat tire on his car. Meanwhile, Richard’s upstairs neighbor saw smoke coming from his apartment.
“Thank God I hadn’t locked the door because I didn’t think I would be gone long,” Richard said. “My neighbor was able to open the door and get Hobo out.”
Cooking fires are the most common cause of home fires. The Red Cross reminds people to keep an eye on what you fry—never leave cooking food unattended.
“Red Cross helped me out; they gave me some funds, which came in real handy,” said Richard on the financial assistance he received from the Red Cross. “All my food was ruined, so I used some of the money to replace food and buy my medications. The people I dealt with were so kind.”
Richard used some of the funds the Red Cross provided to make much-needed repairs to his vehicle. In addition to financial assistance, the Red Cross offers clients mental and spiritual care and referrals to other services to aid in their recovery.
“I never expected the Red Cross to help because it wasn’t a really big disaster, but in my mind, it was a big disaster. Red Cross came the very next day and did everything they could to help right then and there,” said Richard on how much the fire impacted his life. “The Red Cross is a real savior. I felt like there’s actually somebody out there who cares.”
Richard is now living in a house with two roommates and, of course, his faithful dog, Hobo.
YOU CAN HELP people like Richard recover from home fires by donating to American Red Cross Disaster Relief or signing up to volunteer in your community as part of the Disaster Action Team.