Local Red Cross busier than usual this year

Jun 17, 2014 12:59 PM by Charlene Cheng

A three-alarm fire on Rancho Road in Redding destroyed four buildings, two acres of vegetation, and left at least three people without a home.

"We were able to make contact with the residents and found out that they didn't have a place to go, at least a couple of them didn't, so we provided them with some hotel accommodations, which is kind of standard. We also gave them some financial assistance to help out with food and clothing and emergency needs like that," said Eric Kiltz, a disaster program manager for the Northeastern California chapter of the American Red Cross.

That was the fourth incident that the Red Cross has been involved with this month.

Just last week, they helped a Cottonwood family whose house was burned down by an arsonist.

"I was pretty much in shock. I was crying a lot. This was actually built by my grandfather, so it was very traumatic," Ashley Westphal said.

The Westphals have family in the area, but no one has the extra room to take them in.

"I was very worried that we were going to have nowhere to go and I was worried the dogs weren't going to have anywhere to stay, and luckily the Red Cross came and they helped us and they put us in a motel room, gave us money for food and water," she said.

Kiltz knows firsthand what it's like to lose a home.

His burned down when he was 14 years old, and Red Cross volunteers responded.

"I know how it feels to be standing out on the street wearing the clothes I got on my back, and not having any other possessions and having someone show up and take care of me. I know how that feels," Kiltz said.

The Red Cross relies on volunteers for most of its service, and more are always needed.

An oritentation meeting for new volunteers is coming the evening of July 5 at the Redding office on Bechelli Lane.


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