Fire Victim Says Families Still Need Help

Frustration has apparently set in for some people affected by an apartment fire Apr. 2.

Several local agencies have provided temporary housing for seven families who had lived at Village Apartments.

But Monday, some residents leveled an allegation against the American Red Cross.

"People were saying they were donating money for us to Red Cross, but we haven't seen it," said Shametris Watson, whose unit at Village Apartments burned. "They paid for us three nights in a hotel and they are saying there is nothing else they can do."

"We have had people call to donate clothing, and that is something the Red Cross does not take," said executive director Susan Wehr. "And we refer them to The Salvation Army. But we have had no dollars, no funding, donated specific to the fire victims of the Village Apartment fires."

The Red Cross, Multi-County Community Service Agency and Wesley House have all provided help to the families who lost their homes and possessions in the fire.

Management of Village Apartments said it could be months before those burned units are livable.

The Red Cross Key Chapter has been strapped itself this year. It has made appeals for general donations to its Fire Victims Assistance Fund. Since Jan. 1, 2010, it says it has aided 268 people whose property was involved in 67 fires in its service area. The Key Chapter says it has paid out nearly $34,000 this year in emergency assistance.

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