At 5:45 a.m., Sunday morning, March 20th I woke to a call from ARC dispatch announcing a fire on the North East side of Columbus. I distinctly remember because it was my birthday.
When we arrived, the resident of the damaged apartment was outside wrapped in a blanket, visibly cold and upset. He had come home late from work and fallen asleep only to be roused awake by his smoke alarm. He grabbed his phone and ran out the door to call 911. Luckily, the fire department kept the fire from spreading to other apartments. He continually stated that the smoke alarm had saved his life and judging from the damage, he was lucky to be alive.
He was fortunate enough to have family to stay with and support him as he got back on his feet after the fire. We were able to help him with food and clothing. He was even able to return to work the next day. This resident’s fire serves as a reminder of the importance of maintaining smoke alarms and escape plans. My personal thanks to all the Red Cross donors who enable Red Cross volunteers to help victims of disaster like this one.
-Joanna Ross, Disaster Action Team Leader & Volunteer
And we thank volunteers like Joanna, who are ready and willing to help. Even on their birthdays!