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RICHFIELD, Utah (Nov. 22, 2022) — American Red Cross of Utah Disaster Action Team staff and volunteers this morning continue to provide assistance, water and food to the more than 75 residents displaced by last night’s massive blaze at a former motel.
The Richfield Volunteer Fire Department responded to the blaze at about 7:30 p.m. Monday that extensively damaged the former motel, which was recently converted into extended stay housing, city officials said. A community evacuation center was opened last night with the support of the Red Cross, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Utah National Guard, and local and state government departments.
Those in need of assistance will receive help with essentials such as temporary lodging, food, clothing, personal care/health items, and in some cases, financial support. “Our volunteers are meeting with the families to provide emotional, and emergency needs support,” said Benjamin Donner, Executive Director of the American Red Cross of Central and Southern Utah Chapter. “Red Cross caseworkers will continue to work with the families in the days and weeks ahead to help them get back on their feet with recovery guidance and support."
Red Cross Disaster Action Team volunteers and staff often respond to home fires, which can leave a family devastated and in need of immediate assistance – and are the nation’s most frequent disaster, Donner said. “Last year, Red Cross of Utah team members responded to 175 home fires and helped more than 500 Utahns, providing emotional support, access to financial assistance, and valuable information to help families begin to recover,” he said.
The massive blaze serves as a reminder that fire can happen anytime and anywhere, and everyone should have a two-minute home fire escape plan, as two minutes is the amount of time that fire experts say you have to safely escape a home fire before it could be too late. “Our staff and volunteers are also trained to provide preparedness education so families can know how to evacuate safely if a fire breaks out in their home,” Donner said.
Residents interested in fire prevention assistance can visit SoundTheAlarm.org/Utah to schedule an appointment for a free smoke alarm installation. During the 20-minute home visit, Red Cross volunteers and community partners will also share information on home fires, how to prevent them, what to do if a fire starts, and how to create an escape plan.
Volunteers are always needed to help install smoke alarms and share fire safety information with families. No prior experience is needed — training is provided. Those interested can register at SoundTheAlarm.org/Utah. Financial donations are also accepted to help members of the community prepare for, respond to, and recover from home fires. Go to redcross.org/donate to give.
About the American Red Cross
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds, and provides comfort to victims of disasters; supplies about 40% of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; distributes international humanitarian aid; and supports veterans, military members, and their families. The Red Cross is a nonprofit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to deliver its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or CruzRojaAmericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.