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PRESS CONTACT INFO

ROBIN ERICKSON
Director of Communications

PHONE
(401) 831-7700 x101
E-MAIL
[email protected]

Tuesday, December 10, 2002
Red Cross Responds to Afternoon Fire on Smith Street -- Citing Busy Season, Red Cross Has Helped Over Three Dozen People in Five Days

The American Red Cross of Rhode Island was called to the scene of an afternoon fire in Providence at 636-638 Smith Street. The triple-decker home was occupied by fifteen people --- all members of the same extended family.

Red Cross volunteers met with the family and are providing everyone --- 9 adults and 6 children --- with hotel accommodations and meals.

This marks the fifth incident that the Red Cross has responded to since Friday evening. Since then, the Red Cross has provided 37 Rhode Islanders --- including ten children --- with emergency services.

Families have been assisted in Providence, Smithfield, and Woonsocket.

"This is the time of year when we see the frequency of fires jump dramatically," Sarah Bilofsky, Director of Communications, American Red Cross of Rhode Island, said. "While most of us are out doing our holiday shopping, our dedicated Red Cross volunteers are out at the fire scene, helping local families."

When the Red Cross is called to several back-to-back fires --- many with multiple families displaced, Bilofsky says it puts a real strain on the Red Cross finances. The Red Cross typically spends almost $1,000 per family it assists.

"When we are helping this many families at once, and we know the next few weeks will continue to be busy, we want to make sure we have the cash flow to keep helping," Bilofsky said.

The American Red Cross of Rhode Island is not a government agency and relies on contributions to provide food, clothing and shelter to over 1,000 Rhode Islanders annually.

To make a contribution, visit www.riredcross.org or call 401.831.7700.

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