Red Cross Responds to Richmond Heights Apartment Fire

After spending a second night in an American Red Cross shelter at Richmond Heights High School, Tracy Foster felt relieved.

“Every one of my needs have been met.  I’ve been able to shower, feed my cat, and got breakfast lunch and dinner.”

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Foster is one of the residents of the Loganberry Ridge Apartments who stayed in the shelter, after dozens were chased from their homes by fire on Friday, July 20, 2018.  Because of the potential need to provide lodging for so many people, the Red Cross established the shelter with the assistance of Richmond Heights Local Schools.

Most residents found alternative lodging arrangements.  But on Friday night, nine residents took shelter in the school.

Red Cross partners at the Salvation Army supplied dinner on Friday night, and the Cleveland Animal Protective League delivered supplies for the dog and two cats the residents brought with them. Pets that aren’t service animals aren’t normally permitted in a Red Cross shelter, but Richmond Heights school officials made an exception.

“It means everything to me to have my love here with me,” Tracy said of her cat Diamond.  “She’s a house cat.  She’s always home.  The fact that the shelter made it possible for her to have her own little home here has made her much more comfortable with the devastation we’re going through.”

It is not known when the residents will be able to return to their homes. But until then, the Red Cross is committed to providing shelter for all in need.

See more photos of our response and shelter operation here.

“The people who are here are awesome,” said shelter manager Sue Wisdom. “They’re a great group of people.  They’re very caring and appreciative of everything the Red Cross is doing for them.”

While partners often help with meals, most of the food provided to residents is supplied by the Red Cross. Combined with the cost of training volunteer shelter workers, the cots and blankets supplied to shelter residents, transportation, storage and logistics costs, the expenses add up.  That’s why donations to the Red Cross are so important.  A $50 donation can provide a full day of food and shelter for one person, including three meals, a cot, two blankets, and a comfort kit as well as the costs to support the Red Cross workers providing this needed service.

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Shelter volunteers Monica Bunner and Sue Wisdom consult with a resident at the shelter at Richmond Heights High School on Sunday, July 22, 2018.

Donations can be made by visiting the Red Cross website, or by calling 1-800-RED CROSS.

The Loganberry Ridge residents had to move out of the high school on Sunday – due to previous commitments there.  They were resettled nearby, at the Christian Assembly Church, where the same five residents stayed again Sunday night. And fortunately for Tracy, she was able to keep her beloved Diamond by her side.

“I’m very grateful to the Red Cross for putting me AND my cat up for as long as we need to be.  The people are very kind.  Very warm and helpful.”

Thank You for Giving on Red Cross Giving Day

Your gift means so much.

We reached our Giving Day goal, and will be able to help 28,678 families thanks to the generosity of our donors. This brief video illustrates just a few of the ways your donations will help people when they face emergencies like home fires, hurricanes and flooding.

 

Just this week, disaster workers responded to the Rainbow Terrace apartment building fire in Cleveland, where residents from 30 units were forced to flee before dawn on Monday, March 26.  The Red Cross provided more than $8,200 dollars to help 63 residents meet their immediate needs.  While many of the residents are being housed in once-vacant apartments throughout the complex, they lost all of their possessions in the fire.

 

While Giving Day is over, the need for disaster relief is constant.  Red Cross workers respond to three home fires every 24 hours, on average, in Northeast Ohio.  The need for volunteers to assist people in their darkest hours is constant, too.  To learn more about volunteering, visit redcross.org/neo, and click the Volunteer tab.  You can also make a donation to disaster relief, to help people who suffer from disasters, big and small.

Shelter Closes, But Casework Continues

Red Cross Workers Continue to Assist Dozens of Residents Forced to Flee from Fire

A shelter operated by the Red Cross for residents of the Studio City Apartments in Cuyahoga Falls closed today, after Red Cross caseworkers were able to ensure that all residents in need of shelter had suitable alternative housing.

Since Friday, April 14th, the Red Cross has been providing safe shelter, warm meals and comfort care daily for up to six residents who otherwise would have had no other housing alternatives.

“We are extremely grateful to the Cuyahoga Falls City Schools and the Riverfront YMCA for providing the space for us to operate a shelter for these residents,” said Tim O’Toole, Regional Disaster Officer in Northeast Ohio.  “And we are especially grateful to the dedicated volunteers, many of whom gave up family time over the Easter holiday weekend, to provide the services that were needed following last week’s fire.”

Shelter Residents from Cuyahoga Falls play basketball with Red Cross Volunteers on Easter Sunday.  Photo credit: Zackery McAvoy/American Red Cross

Although the shelter has closed, Red Cross assistance will continue for the foreseeable future, as nearly 80 people who were forced to flee their homes on Thursday, April 13 are getting help from caseworkers, who are meeting with residents one-on-one to create recovery plans, navigate paperwork and locate help from other agencies.  Most of the work is being done by volunteers, who have received specialized training to help people following a disaster.

The Red Cross has a need for additional volunteers to help when the next disaster occurs.  Volunteer opportunities include not only casework and shelter help, but also response immediately following disasters, when people often experience their darkest hours.  Those interested in becoming trained Red Cross volunteers can visit redcross.org/neo, or call 216-431-3328 to begin the application process.

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 Red Cross shelter workers created this display to express their appreciation for the use of  Gordon Dewitt Elementary School in Cuyahoga Falls as a shelter over Easter weekend.

North Randall Residents Receive Help and Hope Following Fire

More than 80 residents of an apartment complex in North Randall received help from Red Cross workers on Tuesday, February 14.

After firefighters responded to an apartment fire at the North Randall Estates, building inspectors had to determine whether it was safe to let residents back in their homes.

Red Cross workers opened a reception center in a Community Room, where waiting residents were given food and comfort.

“They calmed everyone down and walked us through what we need to do,” said resident Ricky Tunstall.  “They were sympathetic to our needs.”

Red Cross volunteers arrived on the scene shortly after the fire was reported mid-morning, and stayed well into the night, determining the needs of the residents, and trying to fill those needs.

Many residents were given immediate financial assistance.  The Red Cross distributed almost $7,000 to help people pay for a hotel room, or to buy food or other necessities.

One resident spent the night in a Red Cross shelter.

4 weeks after the fire, ongoing casework, disaster health services and disaster mental health services were being provided in 23 cases, with the cost of the operation more than $8,300.

On average, the Red Cross responds to three home fires every 24 hours in Northeast Ohio. While all Red Cross disaster assistance is free,  we rely on the generosity of donors to help us provide that assistance for disasters big and small.  Donations to help fund Red Cross disaster relief efforts can be made by calling 1-800-RED CROSS, or by logging onto redcross.org/neo. A text-to-give option is also available.  Text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.