Saturday, 1/5 – Orient (Aroostook County) Single Family Fire. A woman noticed smoke in her house and thought it might be from the chimney. She was able to get all her pets out of the house safely and close several doors before firefighters were on scene. Her husband was at work at the time of the fire. Red Cross volunteer Alice Beaulieu completed casework, and Health Services volunteer Wendy Morrisette followed up. The Red Cross provided assistance for food, clothes, and seasonal garments.
Tuesday, 1/8 – Presque Isle (Aroostook County) Single Family Fire. A 64 year old man and his dog narrowly escaped a home when a fire started from a wood stove around midnight. Red Cross volunteer Daniel Lee performed casework, along with Disaster Mental Health volunteer Julia Masik. The Red Cross provided assistance for food, clothing, shoes, and seasonal garments. The client is currently staying with his son.
Wednesday, 1/9 – Bridgton (Cumberland County) Multi Family Fire. A fire broke out in a first floor apartment, forcing all tenants from the twelve unit building to evacuate immediately. The fire destroyed the first floor apartment and caused minor damage to a second floor apartment. The cause of the fire is being investigated. Tenants gathered in the parking lot and apartment complex office, and the Red Cross was notified by the Bridgton Fire Department, as well as the manager of the apartment complex. Red Cross volunteers Marcia Walsh and Maria Evans responded to provide aid and comfort to the tenants involved in this disaster. Marcia and Maria assessed the immediate basic needs of those effected and provided assistance for food and clothing, as well as lodging assistance to those people who could not go back into their apartments. With only one unit destroyed and another with minor damage, the majority of the tenants were allowed to go back into their apartments.
Wednesday, 1/9 – Bridgton (Cumberland County) Single Family Fire. In the midst of the first Bridgton response, another fire resulted in major damage to an apartment. The fire is believed to have been caused by careless handling of a woodstove, and an unsuccessful effort to extinguish it forced a single man to evacuate his apartment and call 911. The fire was contained to one apartment, and no one else was effected. The Bridgton Fire Department once again called the Red Cross; while already providing assistance to the other fire, Red Cross volunteers Marcia Walsh and Maria Evans provided aid and comfort to the gentleman that was displaced from this particular incident as well. The Red Cross provided the assistance for food, clothing, and lodging. The client expects to stay with friends or family thereafter.
Thursday, 1/10 – Norridgewock (Somerset County) Single Family Fire. Both parents were picking children up from school and returned home to find firefighters battling a fire at their house. The mobile home sustained major damage. Wallets were lost in the fire and the parents only had $6 in the car. Red Cross volunteers Sarah Davis and Kendra Atwood responded; the Red Cross provided assistance for food, clothing, shoes, and seasonal garments.
Thursday, 1/10 – Nobleboro (Lincoln County) Single Family Fire. A loud noise coming from the dryer alerted a mother and her young daughter of a fire that forced both to evacuate at a moment’s notice. Luckily, four other family members were not home at the time of the incident. On the day of the incident, much of Maine was experiencing heavy winds gusts which helped fan this fire, ultimately gutting the first floor of the home and destroying much of the family’s personal belongings. The Nobleboro Fire Department called the Red Cross to help assist this family of seven. Red Cross volunteer Andrew Eckman initially took the call and gathered information. Red Cross volunteer Judy Hamer responded to the scene, providing assistance for food, clothing, and lodging for three nights. Although the family is receiving support from the community, their long-term housing plan is yet to be finalized.
Thursday, 1/10 – Augusta (Kennebec County) Multi Family Fire. A mid-afternoon fire destroyed a three-story, six-unit apartment building, forcing all fourteen tenants to evacuate immediately. A loud explosion from a propane tank initially alerted tenants that there was a fire, and everyone evacuated safely. The cause of the fire is believed to have started on a outside deck, likely from a cigarette butt that was discarded improperly. The fire forced a neighboring kindergarten school to go into lockdown mode as a precautionary measure to ensure the safety of the children. The Augusta Fire Department called the Red Cross for assistance; Red Cross volunteers Debbie Tondreau and Penny Kinney arrived on the scene and quickly worked with first responders to assess who and where the tenants were. Red Cross volunteers collaborated with the neighboring school in an effort to provide a safe, dry, warm place for clients to gather. The Red Cross provided assistance for food, clothing, and lodging, as well as referrals to help seek alternate housing.
Thursday, 1/10 – Lebanon (York County) Multi Family Fire. Working smoke alarms are credited for saving the lives of a family of two adults and four small children. The parents managed to gather the children and escape the smoke that was billowing throughout the house. Once outside, neighbors came to the aid of the family by offering blankets for the children, cell phones, and a place to keep the children warm while the parents collaborated with fire officials. The Lebanon Fire Chief offered to call the Red Cross, but the family was already on the phone with their insurance company and hotel arrangements were made. A day later, the man’s employer contacted the Red Cross to ask about assistance for unmet needs. The Red Cross contacted the family immediately and arranged to meet the later that day. Red Cross volunteers Ron Martel and Greg Cormier met with the family and discussed their short-term and long-term goals. Upon arriving, Ron and Greg provided the children with new stuffed animals. After assessing the family’s immediate basic needs, the Red Cross also provided assistance for food and clothing. The family is in good spirits and plans to rebuild.
Friday, 1/11 – Brunswick (Cumberland County) Multi Family Fire. An explosion inside an apartment forced tenants of a five unit apartment building to evacuate immediately. The explosion sparked a fire that destroyed one unit and caused minor damage to an adjacent unit. When fire officials arrived, they found a man outside the apartment suffering from smoke inhalation and burns to his face. Unconfirmed reports from neighbors say the incident was most likely caused when an oxygen tank within a residence may have exploded. The Brunswick Police Department called the Red Cross for assistance; Red Cross volunteer Andrew Eckman (with help from Regional CEO Pat Murtagh) responded to the scene immediately and provided aid and comfort to the tenants effected by the disaster. After assessing each family’s immediate needs, the Red Cross provided assistance for food, clothing, and lodging, as well as referrals to local social service agencies. The majority of the tenants were told they would be able to go back into their units the following day. The Red Cross continues to provide referrals and information to the clients.
Friday, 1/11 – Biddeford (Cumberland County) Multi Family Fire. An early evening fire tore through a house, destroying the home and much of the family’s personal belongings. The fire is believed to have started in an electrical panel. The Red Cross was notified of the incident from a family member; Red Cross volunteers Greg Hellyer and Jeff Haines worked together to ensure the family had a safe, dry place to sleep for the evening. The following morning, Red Cross volunteers met with the family and discussed the their immediate basic needs and recovery plan. The Red Cross provided assistance for food, clothing, and lodging. The family plans to meet with their insurance company soon.