Red Cross Helping Fire Victims

Bristol, Va. - Several house fires in the region have displaced families and kept local American Red Cross chapters busy helping them.

One of the fires happened early Thursday morning in Bristol. Now, the family which includes three children are staying at a hotel until they can make other arrangements.

This is a busy time of year for fires and the Red Cross is busy helping fire victims get back on their feet.

Only two weeks before Christmas Jennifer Pendleton and her children are looking to rebuild after losing everything in a house fire. It happened around 3:00 Thursday morning in Bristol, Virginia.

Jennifer Pendleton says, "Three girls at VI drove by and saw the house in flames and they came and beat on the door."

An electrical problem in the home started the fire. Now Pendleton is at the American Red Cross. Pendleton adds, "We didn't even have shoes on. We didn't have anything."

The Red Cross says nearly every day they see families like this and their goal is to help in a time of disaster.

Patty Tauscher works for the Red Cross says, "We're there to meet their immediate needs, food, clothing and shelter.

Every fire victim that comes to the Red Cross gets items to get get through the first couple of days. that includes things like a blanket and a comfort kit. The kit has essential items like shampoo, even a toothbrush, because for many fire victims they've lost everything, even the littlest things.

Red Cross volunteers are on call 24-hours a day in case of a disaster. Volunteers met the Pendleton's at their house and helped get them to shelter. Jennifer Pendleton says, "They helped me out. They got us a hotel room, gave us money to buy clothes and shoes, they've helped us out."

As Jennifer Pendleton tries to get things together for her three children, the Red Cross continues to collect items to help fire victims, because they tell us the winter months are some of the busiest for house fires.

We wanted to know how many fire victims the Red Cross helps. The Mountain Empire Chapter in Bristol tells us they'll have about 12 fires a month, but sometimes they see as many as 20. So far in the 9 days of December they've assisted with 8 fires.


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