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!