Increase In House Fires Putting Strain On Tulsa Red Cross

Sunday, December 26th 2010, 5:38 pm
By: News On 6

Chris Wright, News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- The Tulsa Red Cross has already responded to more than 60 fires this month. It says that number is much higher than most Decembers.

Those fires have affected 250 people and cost the Red Cross $42,000. The organization says for it to continue to lend a helping hand, it needs some help itself.

11/23/2010 Related Story: Tulsa Red Cross Sees Increase In Home Fires

The Red Cross was on hand at a fire early Sunday morning on East 32nd place. Firefighters say it started after the family's dog kicked over the heat lamp in his dog house.

They had put one in there to keep him warm. The fire spread to the back wall of the house before crews were able to quickly put it out.

"We're just there to be that support to them at the time when the disaster happens," said Randy Diamond, American Red Cross.

While the Red Cross continues to lend its support, it says its services have been needed more than ever this December.

There's still nearly a week left before the new year, and there have already been more than 60 fires in Tulsa. An average of ten people a day have been affected by them.

While the cold weather and holiday festivities usually produce more fires, the Red Cross says 2010 is different.

"We usually see a little bit of an uptick in December and the winter months, but yes we've had more than usual this month. It's getting to us a little bit," Diamond said.

Fighting fires like this one on South Yale last week aren't cheap. 10 women were displaced when their sober living group home went up in flames.

The Red Cross provides meals, clothing, temporary lodging, medications, and other supplies in these situations. So far, the bill this month has totaled more than $42,000.

"Hopefully it won't stay that way because we don't like to see people put out by fires any more than they want to be put out by fires," Diamond said.

And as an organization that relies entirely on donations, it's a trend the Red Cross hopes ends with the new year.

Donations can be made on the Red Cross's website.