Maine Flash Report for 1/22/2013

Tuesday, 1/15 – Dixfield (Oxford County) Single Family Fire.  An early morning fire destroyed a family’s home and much of their personal belongings.  The direct cause of the fire is still being investigated, but appears to have started in the vicinity of an electrical panel.  Luckily, the family was not home when the fire started, but were called and on scene shortly thereafter.  The Red Cross office received a call from the Dixfield Fire Department to help assist the family.  Red Cross volunteer Sue Goddard contacted the family immediately and arrangements were made to meet at the Red Cross office in Lewiston.  Sue met with the family and identified the family’s immediate basic needs.  The Red Cross provided assistance for food and clothing.  The family is expected to meet their insurance company soon.

Wednesday, 1/16 – Phillips (Franklin County) Single Family Fire.  A chimney fire that spread to a wall caused heavy smoke damage to an apartment.  The family was on their way home when the fire started, and upon entering their apartment, they could see smoke billowing from the stove pipe.  After dialing 911, the family attempted to extinguish the flames and had it under control by the time the fire department responded.  The Phillips Fire Department provided the family contact information for the Red Cross, who they called moments later.  Red Cross volunteer Carole Richards contacted the family and arranged to meet at a local motel.  Carole assessed the family’s needs and provided Red Cross assistance to purchase food and arranged for the family to stay in a hotel for three nights.  The family intends to clean up the apartment and plans to move back in.

Wednesday, 1/16 – Waterford (Oxford County) Single Family Fire.  An early morning fire forced a single man to evacuate his home.  Although the homeowner evacuated safely, the fire destroyed his home and a nearby garage, and the gentleman’s cat perished as well.   A wall that was next to a wood stove is believed to have been the cause of the fire.  Although the Waterford Fire Department offered to call the Red Cross, the homeowner declined and stayed with relatives who live next door.  The next morning, the Red Cross received a call from a family member requesting help.  Red Cross volunteer Cara Billings, who lives in the neighborhood, offered to meet the client and help out a fellow neighbor.  Cara and the client discussed his immediate basic needs and what particular tasks he must do in order to start recovering.  The Red Cross provided the client assistance for food and clothing, as well as comfort kits and referrals to local social service agencies.

Monday, 1/21 – Chelsea (Kennebec County) Single Family Fire.  A mid morning fire destroyed a family’s mobile home and all of their personal belongings.  Luckily, the family was not home at the time of the fire.  The homeowner had just left the house to go shopping and was notified shortly thereafter by a neighbor.  The cause of the fire is yet to be determined, but is not considered suspicious.  The homeowner did state that he had just installed new smoke detectors.  The Chelsea Fire Department called the Red Cross for assistance; Red Cross volunteers Debbie Tondreau and Penny Kinney met the family at a local motel and discussed their short and long term goals.  The Red Cross provided assistance for food, clothing, and lodging for three nights.  The family does have insurance and plans to meet their agent shortly.

Maine Flash Report for 1/15/2013

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.

Maine Flash Report for 1/8/2013

Sunday, 11/11 – Caribou (Aroostook County) Single Family Fire.  Two adults and their four children were displaced when their apartment caught fire.  Unfortunately, one of the children was injured in the fire and was flown to Portland for treatment. Upon the family’s return from Portland, they met with Red Cross volunteer Bob Jordan.  The Red Cross provided assistance with lodging.

Friday, 11/23 – Madison (Somerset County) Single Family Fire.  A family of five was displaced from their mobile home the day after Thanksgiving.  The family was home at the time of the fire and believes it started with a young child playing with a lighter.  Red Cross volunteer Maryann Ayotte responded; the Red Cross provided assistance for food, clothing, and seasonal garments for all family members.

Wednesday, 12/12 – Westbrook (Cumberland County) Single Family Fire.  An off-duty fireman happened to be driving by an apartment that had visible smoke billowing from the roof.  The fireman immediately dialed 911, quickly determined no one was in the burning apartment, and alerted neighboring tenants to evacuate.  The fire destroyed one apartment and caused significant damage to the neighboring unit.  The Red Cross received a call from the family whose apartment was destroyed; Red Cross volunteers Sue Goddard and Eric Sawyer spoke with the client and scheduled a time to meet with the family.  The tenants from the neighboring unit declined assistance.  The Red Cross met with family and provided assistance for food, clothing, and referrals to local social service agencies.  The family does have renters insurance.

Thursday, 12/13 – Amity (Aroostook County) Multi Family Fire.  A fire of unknown origin destroyed a house, displacing residents from two apartments.  Red Cross volunteer Pete Marcotte responded.  An elderly couple is staying at their boss’s camp until they can build a new home; the Red Cross assisted them with food, clothing, shoes and seasonal garments.  A young man is staying with friends until he can find another apartment to rent; the Red Cross assisted him with food, clothing, shoes, seasonal garments, and lodging.

Sunday, 12/16 – Lewiston (Androscoggin County) Single Family Fire.  A fire caused extensive damage to a family’s home, displacing them for a period of time.  A faulty chimney is believed to have ignited wood rafters.  The homeowner called 911 immediately, then grabbed a hose and began dousing the rafters.  The Lewiston Fire Department called the Red Cross for assistance; Disaster Action Team volunteer Janice Lara responded to the scene and met with the family to determine their immediate basic needs.  The Red Cross provided assistance for food and lodging for three nights.  The family plans to start repairs as soon as possible and will live in a camper that sits on their property until repairs to the home are complete.

Monday, 12/17 – Turner (Androscoggin County) Single Family Fire.  Upon returning home from the grocery store, a man was met by smoke billowing from a second-story window.  The man entered his home to retrieve his dog, was overcome by smoke, and was not able to save his cats.  The house is considered a total loss.   The Lewiston Fire Department called the Red Cross for assistance; Disaster Action Team volunteer Sue Goddard contacted the client immediately and was told that the client would be staying next door with his sister.  The following day, the Red Cross met with the client a provided assistance for food and clothing, as well as comfort kits.  The client plans to meet with his insurance company soon.

Tuesday, 12/18 – Lewiston (Androscoggin County) Multi Family Fire.  A first floor tenant left a candle burning in the living room, causing a fire that destroyed a three unit apartment building.  All of the tenants made it out safely and no injuries were reported.  A teenager who happened to be walking by on his way to basketball practice spotted the fire and called 911.   The Lewiston Fire Department called the Red Cross for assistance; Disaster Action Team volunteers Nick Pelletier and John Osbun responded immediately to the scene, collaborating with the fire department so that tenants on the third floor could retrieve clothing and other personal belongings.  The Red Cross provided the families assistance with food, clothing, and lodging for three nights, and is working with the families to seek alternate housing.

Thursday, 12/20 – Anson (Somerset County) Single Family Fire.  A woman was sleeping at the time of a fire that originated from the wood stove.  Disaster Action Team volunteer Maryann Ayotte responded, and the Red Cross provided assistance for food, clothing, shoes, and seasonal garments for the family of three.  The displaced clients intend to stay with the woman’s daughter until they determine their next steps.

Thursday, 12/20 – Bangor (Penobscot County) Multi Family Fire.  An apartment building was heavily damaged by fire early Thursday morning, displacing a total of seven residents.  Fire crews arrived just after midnight, and while they managed to get the blaze under control in about an hour, the house was a total loss.  The fire started in the second story, and working smoke alarms are largely to thank for getting all of the residents safely out of the house in time.  Casework volunteer Brenda Moody responded; the Red Cross assisted one family with housing, food, and cleaning supplies, and another family with food, clothing, and seasonal garments.

Friday, 12/21 – Merrill (Aroostook County) Single Family Fire.  A strange twist of events that led a family to seek Red Cross assistance.  During a recent cold spell this family, including four children under 7, was staying at their grandmother’s house when an apparent gas leak under their mobile home blew up the residence, totally upending the home.  Red Cross volunteer Alice Beaulieu responded to the call and provided assistance for food, clothing, and seasonal garments.

Tuesday, 12/25 – Woodville (Penobscot County) Single Family Fire.  A homeowner said he heard a noise at around 11:30, went outside to check, and found flames around the eaves of his house.  The fire is believed to have originated from the chimney, and none of the client’s fire extinguishers were working.   Red Cross volunteer Alice Beaulieu and Response Manager Danielle Hardré responded, providing assistance for food, clothing, lodging, and medication replacements.

Friday, 12/28 – Stockton Springs (Waldo County) Single Family Fire.  Four generations of a family were displaced when a home burned early Thursday morning, forcing family members to flee outdoors with only their pajamas.  The family has insurance and intends to rebuild. The community has been very responsive and supportive, donating clothes and other items needed.  Red Cross volunteer Gale Grat and Response Manager Danielle Hardré responded, providing assistance for food, clothing, seasonal garments, shoes, and lodging for the family of seven.

Friday, 12/28 – Sea Cove (Hancock County) Single Family Fire.  A woman and her son were away at a track meet when she received a call that their house was on fire.  All of the contents were destroyed by fire, smoke, and water, and the family also lost three cats.  Readiness Manager Rob Eaton responded; the Red Cross provided assistance for clothes, shoes, seasonal garments, and food.

Monday, 12/31 – Westbrook (Cumberland County) Single Family Fire.  On a cold New Year’s Eve, a family of four was forced to evacuate their home due to a fast moving fire.  The fire broke out in a bathroom and spread throughout the first floor, causing major damage.  The Westbrook Fire Department called the Red Cross for assistance; Disaster Action Team volunteer John Leeming left his New Year’s Eve activities without hesitation to respond.  After assessing the family’s immediate basic needs and discussing the family’s tentative recovery plan, John provided assistance for food.  The family’s clothing was not affected by the fire and the family plans to stay with relatives.  The family has house insurance.

Tuesday, 1/1 – Monmouth (Kennebec County) Single Family Fire.  On New Year’s Day, a single woman and her dog were forced to evacuate their home due to a fire.  Smoke detectors alerted the homeowner of the fire, allowing her enough time to evacuate without harm.  The fire started in the chimney and worked its way through the home.  The Monmouth Fire Chief stated that regular maintenance of one’s chimney is something that cannot be delayed.  The Red Cross office received a call from the homeowners relatives, requesting services.  The Red Cross contacted the client immediately and arranged to meet the client at the Red Cross office.  Disaster Action Team volunteer Sue Goddard met with the client (and her dog) and assessed their immediate basic needs.  The Red Cross provided assistance for food, clothing, and lodging, as well as comfort kits, a dog toy, and referrals to social service agencies.

Tuesday, 1/1 – Belmont (Waldo County) Single Family Fire.  The clients were not home when a fire broke out, destroying their mobile home and all of its contents.  Thankfully, a passerby saw the fire and let the family dog out before it was too late.  Red Cross volunteer Gail Grat responded (her first solo response as a caseworker); the Red Cross assisted with lodging, clothing, shoes, seasonal garments, and food for two people.

Saturday, 1/5 – Limington (York County) Single Family Fire.  An early evening fire destroyed a family’s house and attached garage.  The occupants were alerted by smoke detectors and were able to retrieve cell phones before evacuating.   The home was fully engulfed in flames by the time the fire department arrived on scene.  The homeowners were supported by friends and family and did not require Red Cross services until the following day.  While on her way to work, Red Cross volunteer Belinda Arsenault made time to meet with the family and assess their immediate basic needs.  The Red Cross provided assistance for food and clothing.  The family plans to meet with their insurance company as soon as possible.

Sunday, 1/6 – Orono (Penobscot County) Single Family Fire.  A junction box under a mobile home caught fire, resulting in minimal smoke damage and no structural damage. The power and heat will stay off until major rewiring is completed.  Red Cross volunteer David St. Louis responded; the Red Cross assisted with lodging.