How the Red Cross Mission Becomes Personal


Last night I received a call that I never thought I would get. On my iPhone it displayed my brother’s phone number. When I answered, however, it was my father on the phone. Something was off in the way that he greeted me. My usually boisterous Dad was somber. My mind went into a tailspin. I thought my brother was hurt, but fortunately he was fine. My father went on to tell me that my mother’s house had just burned down. Shocked, my body began to convulse uncontrollably. My Dad talked me through it, and I finally got to speak to my mother. She was distraught, crying, but thankful that everyone got out okay.
My mother was cold, and decided to turn on a space heater in the house. After turning the heater on she decided to continue watching television. Moments later, she saw a large spark come from the heater. The spark turned into a flame. That flame, into a blaze. She immediately grabbed my dog and cat and ran outside of the house. She got in the car and drove it far enough away from the house just to stay out of harms way. My mom called 911 from her car, and fireman soon arrived.


It is still unclear whether the house will be inhabitable or not, but I know that half of the house has been charred. Our living room, kitchen, and my sister’s bedroom are all destroyed. Thankfully, my father lives just under 2 miles away from my mother’s now destroyed house and will be hosting my mom until her living situation has been sorted out. Unfortunately, for thousands every year, there is not a person close enough or even capable enough to help them through this process.
The American Red Cross of Greater Chicago responds to 3-4 fires every single day. As an intern for the American Red Cross, I always left shocked after I left the scene of the fire. Now, the roles have been reversed.




9 responses

  1. Our thoughts are with you and your family during this tough time following your fire. I'm glad that nobody was harmed and that you have a great support team. I agree about the feelings after departing the homes we respond to. Many of us go home,at times, double checking for a hazard, hoping we will not experience this chaos. My best wishes,Rich Arons ARC/DMHS

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