Midlands families seeking community’s help after home fires

STATEWIDE, S.C. (WIS) – One family in Richland County, and another family in Kershaw County are seeking assistance by the American Red Cross after their homes were damaged by fires Thursday.

One family’s home is located in Watermark Place in Columbia, near Riverbanks Zoo and Garden off Greystone Boulevard, and after the fire they are in need of clothing, food, shelter, and referrals for resources. The American Red Cross says the family includes three people.

The other family, according to the American Red Cross disaster-trained volunteers, includes two people in Camden who experienced a home fire on Lyttleton Street, near Camden High School Thursday afternoon.

The American Red Cross also says the holiday season is a good time to prepare and brush up on fire safety. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact communities, the American Red Cross says celebrations could be different this year, as well.

The Chief Executive Officer for the Red Cross of South Carolina, Rod Tolbert says home fires are a real threat to communities across the state over the Thanksgiving holiday.

“In particular, cooking fires are the number one cause of home fires, and year after year Thanksgiving is the peak day for these tragedies. We at the Red Cross are urging families to follow cooking safety steps to help prevent your holiday celebrations from going up in smoke,” Tolbert said.

The American Red Cross offers these safety tips to keep families safe this Thanksgiving and holiday season:

  • Keep an eye on what you fry. Never leave cooking food unattended. If you must leave the kitchen, even for a short period of time, turn off the stove.
  • Move items that can burn away from the stove. This includes dishtowels, bags, boxes, paper and curtains. Also keep children and pets at least three feet away.
  • Avoid wearing loose clothing or dangling sleeves while cooking.
  • Keep a pan lid or a cookie sheet nearby. Use it to cover the pan if it catches on fire. This will put out the fire. Leave the pan covered until it is completely cooled.
  • Turn pot handles to the back of the stove, so no one bumps them or pulls them over.
  • Use a timer to remind yourself that the stove or oven is on. Check the kitchen before going to bed or leaving home to ensure all stoves, ovens and small appliances are turned off.

The American Red Cross also says testing your smoke alarms monthly and practicing a home fire escape plan until everyone can get out in less than two minutes is imperative. Two minutes is the amount of time you may have to get out of a burning home before it’s too late, according to the Red Cross.

There are ways to help families in need through the American Red Cross Hometown Hero program.

According to the American Red Cross, Hometown Heroes provides assistance so families financially, so they can pay for food, clothes, personal care items, and a safe place to stay.

Become a Hometown Hero by clicking here or visiting www.redcross.org/HometownHero.

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