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Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund

Bangor -

BANGOR – The number of local house fires in December continues to put pressure on the Pine Tree Chapter of the American Red Cross local disaster relief fund. The Chapter has responded to 10 house fires so far this month, including six during the Christmas holiday week, providing more than $8,000 in direct assistance for emergency shelter, food, clothing and emotional support to 41 people in ten Penobscot, Piscataquis, Hancock and Waldo County towns.

This response follows on a rash of November fires that saw the Chapter assist nearly three dozen Mainers with nearly $10,000 in local disaster relief assistance.

According to Chapter Executive Director Erin Merrill, “Winter is always a time when house fires increase in Maine, but this number of fires and affected families is unusual. We look to Mainers to help the Red Cross provide emergency services now when they are so needed.”

The December house fires affected families in Argyle, Dexter, Bar Barbor, Trenton, Hancock, Northport, Brewer, Winterport, Bucksport and Bangor. The last two fires involved multi-unit apartment buildings than put nearly two dozen people out into the cold.

Pine Tree’s Director of Emergency Services Gretchen O’Grady added, “This continues a year with more local disasters requiring Red Cross response than at almost any time in the 91 years that the Chapter has served the counties of eastern and northern Maine. The nearly 75 fire victims we have served in less than two months compare with the 303 people we helpd after 110 house fires, flood and storm damage in all of last year. The Chapter’s assistance costs have already risen to nearly $60,000 since the summer, stretching the Local Disaster Relief Fund very thin.”

Nearly 200 trained Red Cross disaster volunteers stand ready to help Mainers whenever disaster strikes in the seven counties of eastern and northern Maine, according to Merrill and O’Grady. The Chapter also provides emergency communication and other services for more than 800 military families a year through its Service to the Armed Forces program, and this year will offer first aid, CPR, water safety and other skills training to nearly 10,000 Mainers.

All local Red Cross disaster response and emergency services are a gift from Mainers. To make a contribution to the Pine Tree Chapter’s Local Disaster Relief Fund, for more information on becoming a disaster volunteer, or to find out more about any Red Cross service, go online to www.pinetree.redcross.org, or call the Bangor office at 941-2903 or the Caribou office at 493-4620.

For More Information:

Contact Name: Erin Merrill, Executive Director

Telephone Number: (207)941-2903

Website: http://www.pinetree.redcross.org

Email: merrille@pinetree.redcross.org