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      Red Cross helps families displaced by house fire

      Firefighters battle blaze at 90 N. Florida

      A house fire Thursday night left 17 people homeless, as the blaze raged through the home making it a complete loss.

      The Texas Panhandle Chapter of the Red Cross stepped in to help the three families who lost their home at 90 N. Florida. The people here in the Panhandle have once again shown their generosity and willingness to help those in need, by making monetary donations,as well as clothing and food donations, while also providing temporary housing to these families.

      "Ongoing financial support of the local chapter is critical to meet the immediate needs of families victimized by these devastating disasters" said Vicky Richmond, Executive Director. "We can only imagine their sense of loss in this situation, but fortunately people continue to support the Red Cross so we can help our neighbors in their time of serious need."

      So far this year, the Texas Panhandle Chapter staff and volunteers have responded to 65 fires affecting 211 people, many of them children.

      Martha Riddlespurger, Director of Disaster Services stated, "We encourage everyone to practice fire prevention, especially at this time of year. We see an increase in home fires during the winter months."

      The Red Cross reminds people of the following fire safety tips they should take: Keep all sources of fuel (paper, clothing, bedding, and carpets or rugs) at least three feet away from all heat sources when cooking, or using alternative heating like a space heater Don't leave the kitchen while frying, grilling or broiling food, and don't leave home while cooking Keep matches and lighters out of the reach of children If a fire occurs, get out and stay out. Call the fire department from a cell phone or neighbor's home If smoke or fire blocks the first escape route, use a second way. If someone must exit through smoke, they should crawl low under the smoke to exit. If escaping through a closed door, feel the door before opening it. If the door is warm, get out a different way. If smoke, heat, or flames block the way out, stay in the room with the door closed. Signal for help using a brightly colored cloth at the window. If there is a telephone in the room, call the fire department and tell them the location. For more information on home fire safety click here.

      People can help those affected by home fires and other emergencies by making a financial donation to the Texas Panhandle Chapter by mail or in person at 1800 S. Harrison, Amarillo, Texas 79102, by phone at 806-376-6309 or on the web by clicking here.