Maine Flash Report for August 27, 2013

Wednesday, 8/14 – Portland (Cumberland County) Multi Family Fire. Four ladder trucks and six engines from Portland Fire Department responded to a fire that heavily damaged a three-story, nineteen-unit apartment building. The fire started in a third floor apartment and attic space. Luckily, all of the residents evacuated safely. The fire started as a result of a malfunctioning electrical appliance and was deemed accidental. The Portland Fire Department called the Red Cross to help meet the immediate needs of the nearly fifty clients displaced by this incident. The volunteers of the Disaster Action Team did a fantastic job in dealing with and solving the many issues that were brought forth with this response. Red Cross volunteers worked with a nearby community partner to utilize their building as a temporary, safe location for clients to congregate, they overcame language barriers, found available hotel rooms at a time when many hotels were sold out, and worked with first responders and Metro Bus to ensure that clients had transportation to the hotel. The Red Cross provided displaced clients with three nights lodging, then partnered with the City of Portland’s General Assistance office to ensure that all clients had alternate housing beyond the three nights. The Red Cross also provided assistance for food and clothing, and Health and Mental Health volunteers provided vital services to clients that ranged from a shoulder to lean on, to medication replacement. Many thanks to the following Red Cross Volunteers who responded: Will Clarke, Greg Cormier, Kim Cormier, Ron Martel, Carla LaRoche, Stephanie Millette, Michelle Danois, Ellin Ruffner, Jeff Haines, Jennifer Laflin, Richard Poulin, Karen Rea, Dick Brobst, Susan Henderson, as well as staff members Tammy Atwood, Paul Clark, and Eric Lynes.

Sunday, 8/25 – Bucksport (Hancock County) Multi Family Fire. A multi unit fire began hot and strong on Main St. around 3:30 pm, displacing 8 families. Red Cross volunteer David St. Louis was the first to respond at the scene and coordinated smoothly with the fire department to ensure clients were safely transported to a nearby hotel where casework was completed. David, along with fellow volunteers Bud Walkup and Jennifer DeGroff, conducted casework. Health Services was initiated by volunteers Karen Rea and Brenda Nadeau Deveau. Volunteer Clem Deveau also provided mental health via phone. Clothing, food, and shelter were provided for most of the residents. One resident is insured and declined Red Cross assistance. Two clients are staying with family. One client was at the laundramat and didn’t have clothing needs. The Maine Housing Authority is providing materials for long term housing solutions. Red Cross was requested around dinner time and many of the responders graciously postponed dinner to rush to the scene and respond!

Maine Flash Report for 8/14/2013

Thursday, 7/18 – Eastbrook (Hancock County) Single Family Fire. Two people were displaced when a barn fire quickly spread to the adjacent home. A client was home resting when his dog began to bark. The dog continued barking until the man went outside, discovering the fire and evacuating safely. 35-40 firefighters were called in to fight the blaze. Readiness Manager Rob Eaton responded; the Red Cross provided assistance for clothing, food, and bed linens. The clients are staying with family. The home is unlivable.

Monday, 7/22 – Troy (Waldo County) Single Family Fire. A family of six was left homeless when a house caught fire. All four children were under the age of five. Red Cross volunteer Lore Wing responded, along with Disaster Action Team Trainee Helmut Koch and his wife, Mairead Stein, a Disaster Mental Health and Health Services volunteer. The Red Cross provided assistance for food, infant formula, clothes, bed linens, and a portable crib. The clients are staying with family.

Monday, 7/22 – Limestone (Aroostook County) Single Family Fire. A fire started in the bedroom of a house, exploding a client’s oxygen tank and accelerating the blaze. The clients were not home at the time, and had only the clothes on their backs. Red Cross volunteer Dan Lee responded; the Red Cross provided assistance for lodging, food, and clothing.

Tuesday, 7/23 – Woodland (Aroostook County) Single Family Fire. A grease fire started in the kitchen, quickly spreading and engulfing the residence. Red Cross volunteer Bob Jordan responded; the Red Cross provided assistance with food and clothing. The clients have a place to stay while they search for another home.

Thursday, 7/25 – Machias (Washington County) Hazardous Material. Due to severe rain, the town sewage lines backed up and ended up in this family’s mobile home. Sewage covered the floor of two bedrooms, the living room, and kitchen, according to our caseworker on the scene. Red Cross volunteer Clyde Bernhardt responded; the Red Cross provided shelter for four people for three nights.

Saturday, 7/27 – Columbia (Washington County) Single Family Fire. A family of three was displaced by a fire in the town of Columbia. Red Cross volunteer Clyde Bernhardt responded; the Red Cross provided assistance with lodging.

Monday, 7/29 – Bangor (Penobscot County) Single Family Fire. A fire broke out at a Bangor residence just before 11 pm, displacing a man and his wife. The couple was out for a walk, and when they came back over the hill, they saw firefighters at the scene and their home in flames. Early reports indicated lightning was the cause. Response Manager Danielle Hardré responded; the Red Cross provided assistance for food, lodging, and clothing for two. Red Cross volunteer Carrie Moring also provided Disaster Mental Health follow-up support.

Saturday, 8/3 – Auburn (Androscoggin County) Multi Family Fire. Nobody was home when a fire broke out at a two-unit house which sustained major fire, smoke, and water damage. Neighbors reported seeing heavy smoke coming from the windows and called 9-1-1. Thankfully, the fire department responded quickly and were instrumental in saving the life of three dogs and bird. The tenants were notified of the incident and were on scene shortly thereafter. The Auburn Fire Department called the Red Cross for assistance; Red Cross volunteer Sue Goddard responded to the scene immediately and took the time to talk with the clients about their needs and recovery plans. The Red Cross provided assistance for food, clothing, and lodging. The families plan to meet with their insurance company and determine what options are available. After the incident, one of the families called the Red Cross back to thank us for the help.

Saturday, 8/3 – Castle Hill (Aroostook County) Single Family Fire. An electrical fire left a family homeless in Castle Hill. Red Cross volunteer Bill Thomas responded; the Red Cross provided assistance for food and clothing. The clients are staying with neighbors.

Sunday, 8/4 – Washburn (Aroostook County) Multi Family Fire. A fire started when lightning struck an apartment building, affecting 30 residents in 24 units. Although the fire only damaged some units, all residents were without power for several days while fire damage was repaired and the elevator and fire alarms were brought back online. Red Cross volunteer Dennis Drew led the team of responders. Ten residents were provided hotel stays, and the rest stayed with friends and family in the area. The Red Cross provided assistance with clothing for 21 clients, and food assistance for 23. Health Services and Mental Health were also involved in providing follow-up support to clients as needed.

Monday, 8/5 – Richmond (Sagadahoc County) Single Family Fire. An early morning, quick moving fire destroyed a family’s mobile home and sent one family member to the hospital in critical but stable condition. The fire, which was reported by a neighbor, left little more than the framing and a portion of the roof. The Richmond Fire Department called the Red Cross for assistance; Red Cross volunteers Linda Blanton and Minnie Vasquez responded to the scene immediately and met with two family members. The Red Cross provided assistance for food, clothing, and lodging, and also to let the family know of Health and Mental Health services as well. Once the family member is discharged from the hospital, Health Services will assess any disaster caused medical needs.

Sunday, 8/11 – Mount Vernon (Kennebec County) Single Family Fire. A home was badly damaged and a family pet was killed by a fire that swept through their home. The family had left to go to a local store and the house was on fire when they returned. The homeowner attempted to rescue the dog but was overcome by smoke. The Mount Vernon Fire Department called the Red Cross for assistance; Red Cross volunteer Patty Moody-D’Angelo responded to the scene immediately. Upon Patty’s arrival, the clients were being consoled by many extended family members. Patty assessed the family’s immediate needs and provided the family assistance for food and clothing. The clients have insurance and plan to stay with family until repairs can be made to the home.

Sunday, 8/11 – Windham (Cumberland County) Multi Family Fire. An early morning fire destroyed a three-unit apartment building, forcing three families to evacuate at a moment’s notice. Very sadly, this tragic disaster took the life of a twenty-five year old male and sent his fiancé to the hospital with smoke inhalation. Thankfully, the five other tenants all got out safely. The Windham Fire Department called the Red Cross for assistance; Red Cross volunteer Carla LaRoche received the early morning call and quickly responded to the scene, meeting with first responders and identifying clients’ immediate needs. Given the magnitude of this disaster, Carla’s first priority was to ensure that the health and mental health needs of the clients were met. Carla called Red Cross Mental Health volunteer Ellin Ruffner to help coordinate Red Cross mental health services. Red Cross Mental Health volunteer Bob Collin made contact with the client who was hospitalized. Mental Health volunteers also contacted another family involved in this disaster. Red Cross Health Services volunteer Karen Rea assessed and provided for any medical needs and has been in contact with the family members of the deceased. Once the client was discharged from the hospital, she decided to stay with family members in Waterville, where Red Cross volunteer Lore Wing met with her. Undoubtedly, this is a tragic disaster and one that has effected many people.