Sunday, 5/19 – Orrington (Penobscot County) Single Family Fire. Returning home in afternoon, a family of five found their son’s bedroom in flames, with heavy black smoke throughout the rest of the house. The fire chief determined that the fire was most likely electrical. Luckily, there were no injuries from the fire. Red Cross volunteer Bud Walkup successfully completed his first solo case; the Red Cross provided the family with assistance with lodging for five and clothes for two.
Tuesday, 5/21 – Augusta (Kennebec County) Single Family Fire. A fire was contained to one apartment unit, but forced tenants from other units to evacuate in the middle of the night. No injuries were reported and all but one family was allowed to go back into their dwellings. The fire started accidentally, after smoking materials were discarded improperly. The Augusta Fire Department called the Red Cross to help provide services to one family. Red Cross volunteer Frances Szady, who happens to live in the neighborhood, responded to the scene and met with the client to determine his immediate basic needs. The Red Cross provided assistance for food, clothing, and lodging for three nights. The client is planning to stay with friends or family.
Friday, 5/24 – Brownfield (Oxford County) Single Family Fire. A day of painting a family’s home for a Memorial Day party turned tragic after cleaning chemicals fell from a shelf, causing a fire that destroyed the family’s home. The homeowner attempted to extinguish the fire, but was overcome by smoke. Shortly thereafter, one of the daughters arrived home from a Senior Day field trip only to find her home consumed by fire. The Brownfield Fire Department called the Red Cross to help assist the family with immediate basic needs. Red Cross Volunteer Rich Haslip responded to the scene and met with the family. After talking with the family, Rich provided Red Cross assistance with food, clothing, and lodging for three nights. The family plans to meet with their insurance company and develop their recovery plan.
Saturday, 5/26 – Sabattus (Androscoggin County) Single Family Fire. A late night fire destroyed a family’s home and all of their possessions. The family stated that their smoke alarms woke them up and they had just enough time to grab their cell phones and keys to the car. “Watching your home burn to the ground is the most helpless feeling one could ever experience,” stated the homeowner. The family decided to stay with relatives who lived in the area, and the Sabattus Fire Department provided the family with contact information for the Red Cross. The following day, the family contacted the Red Cross; volunteers Janet and Jerry Stanisz met with the clients to discuss their immediate and long-term recovery plan. The Red Cross provided the assistance for food and clothing, as well as referrals to local social service agencies and teddy bears.
Sunday, 5/27 – Augusta (Kennebec County) Multi Family Fire. A fire caused major damage to a seven-unit apartment building, displacing fourteen people and severely injuring one person. Tenants stated that they were alerted by smoke alarms, and they all worked together to ensure everyone was evacuated. The Augusta Fire Department called the Red Cross to help the tenants affected by this sudden disaster. Red Cross volunteers Dave Bourassa, Fred White, and Debbie Tondreau responded to the scene and met with the clients. The Red Cross provided assistance for food, clothing, and lodging for three nights. The Red Cross is working with the families to find alternate housing.
Tuesday, 5/28 – Corinth (Penobscot County) Single Family Fire. A family of four was displaced when their home was destroyed by fire. The family was away at the time of the fire, which completely destroyed the home. The family is currently staying with friends. Red Cross volunteer Rita Page responded, providing assistance for clothing and food. The cause of the fire is undetermined. The family is insured and will work with their insurance company on their long term plans.
Thursday, 5/30 – Presque Isle (Aroostook County) Single Family Fire. A daytime fire caused major damage to the mobile home residence of a mother and her two children. It appears that arson may be the cause of the fire. The family is uninsured. A family member is providing temporary housing. Red Cross volunteers Dennis and Bonnie Drew met with the family, providing them with assistance for food and clothing, as well as referrals to local agencies.
Thursday, 5/30 – Dedham (Hancock County) Single Family Fire. One of four children arrived home after school and witnessed smoke coming out of the second floor windows. He rescued his dog and called 911. The frame of the house is salvageable, but the interior received major damage and must be gutted. The family is insured for the structure but not the contents. All possessions, clothing, and food were destroyed. Readiness Manager Rob Eaton met with the family, providing them with comfort kits, food, and clothing assistance, as well as referrals. The family is staying with friends. They intend to rebuild on site.
Saturday, 6/2 – Standish (Cumberland County) Single Family Fire. A fire that started in the early morning hours destroyed a family’s mobile home. The two people living there escaped the flames and managed to save a number of pets. The fire is believed to have started in or near the electrical panel, but is still being investigated. The Standish Fire Department called the Red Cross to help assist the family; Red Cross volunteer Ruby Lee met with the clients. After discussing the family’s immediate basic needs and alternate housing plans, the Red Cross provided the family with assistance for food and clothing. The family plans to stay with relatives and will work with their insurance company to determine their long-term recovery plans.
Sunday, 6/2 – Aurora (Hancock County) Single Family Fire. Two residents of a home, as well as a friend staying with them, returned at 9 pm to find the house engulfed in flames. Three cats and a parrot perished in the fire. They are insured, and are still working to develop their long term plans. The cause of the fire is unknown. Red Cross volunteer David St. Louis responded, providing clothing, food, and housing assistance for the residents.
Sunday, 6/3 – South Portland (Cumberland County) Multi Family Fire. Three families were displaced by a late-night fire that swept through an apartment building. The fire started on an exterior porch, moving into the two-story structure’s attic. The three families all escaped before the fire department arrived, and also managed to save two cats and a dog. The fire is believed to have started from an improperly discarded cigarette. The South Portland Fire Department called the Red Cross to help the families involved. Red Cross volunteers Jim Linscott and Liz Brooks met with the clients to assess their immediate basic needs. The Red Cross provided assistance to purchase food and clothing. One family did not have a place to go, and lodging assistance was provided. The Red Cross continues to work with the families to provide referrals and to help in their recovery.
Sunday, 6/3 – Norway (Oxford County) Wind Storm. Severe thunderstorms swept through parts of Maine on Sunday, packing wind gusts of 60 mph to 70 mph, causing downed trees and power lines. A family in Norway was displaced due to a large tree crashing through their mobile home, leaving a gaping hole in the roof and walls. The family managed to put a tarp over the roof, but the home was unsafe to live in. The Norway fire Department called the Red Cross to help assist the family; Red Cross volunteer John McElrath received the call and quickly responded to the scene to assess the situation. After a conversation surrounding the family’s immediate basic needs and alternate housing plan, the Red Cross provided the family with assistance for food and lodging for three nights. The family will work to repair their home and may stay with relatives until repairs are complete.