Rash of house fires depletes Red Cross funds

Sonny Long

April 25, 2011 at 9:01 p.m.
Updated April 24, 2011 at 11:25 p.m.

The Victoria chapter of the American Red Cross needs the public's help to continue helping others.

In less than a week, the Crossroads Chapter has assisted families who have suffered seven house fires in the area.

"We have spent $5,000 in assistance for these fires," Lanell Mantey, the chapter's executive director, said Monday.

In all of 2010, the chapter provided assistance after 46 fires, she said. So far this year, the total has already reached 35 - with eight months to go.

"What we need is reimbursement to help with the disaster funds we give to those who need it the most," she said.

The Red Cross provides purchase cards so that those affected by fires can feed their families and purchase basic needs, she said.

"The average cost of assistance for a family of four is about $1,000, but each case is different," she said.

Frank and Alice Licerio received assistance from the Red Cross when their Bloomington mobile home caught fire last March.

"They helped me with money, and they said they were taking donations for us," Frank Licerio said.

In addition to offering the Licerios a three-day hotel stay, which they turned down so they could stay with family, Red Cross assisted the family in locating another home.

"The Red Cross called and said a woman wanted to donate a mobile home to us," Licerio said. "This one is actually bigger than the last one, about eight feet bigger."

Licerio said he was so moved by the generosity of the Red Cross, he intends to donate money to the organization when he's back on his feet.

"Without the Red Cross, we couldn't have gotten anything done. It's good to donate to the Red Cross; they come in handy when you need them," Licerio said. "I want to donate when I get settled. Everything helps, even $1."

The executive director said it is important to remember that the Red Cross does not get any funds from the state or federal government; it is supported totally by local community donations.



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