Red Cross helps families displaced by fire
wbir.com-When colder, drier months move in, fires can pose a bigger threat inside your home.
On average, the American Red Cross sees two house fires per day during the winter months. In the past five days, the American Red Cross of the Tennessee Mountain Valley has responded to 14 house fires.
Fire officials say heating is the root cause of a lot of house fires. Many people pull out heating devices that haven't been used in a long time and these can cause problems. During the holidays, cooking-related fires also are common.
On Sunday, flames destroyed the Edwards family's home off Rudd Road in Greenback.
Michelle Edwards said she is most thankful that she, her husband and their four sons are safe. All six members of her family escaped the burning home unharmed. They watched as the flames destroyed their home and all their possessions.
The family's pet dog, a small chihuahua, died in the fire. However, their pet cat turned up alive later that day.
Edwards said despite the great loss, she is grateful for the outpouring of support from the neighbors and even strangers.
"I looked down every road and there wasn't a place to go because there was so much love and support from the community" Edwards said.
The Red Cross is helping the Edwards family cope with their loss and get back on their feet. With a rise in winter fires, the group stays ready.
To prepare, volunteers stockpile items over the summer for comfort care kits. Each kit includes items like deodorant, toothbrushes and other essentials.
"It's amazing how you can put someone up in a hotel for the night, but without some of these things, they're still not feeling normal yet," said Michelle Hankes, American Red Cross Tennessee Mountain Valley executive director.
Each family is unique, and each response from the Red Cross is different. Hankes said when a fire first occurs, the family may not be ready to thinking about what they need so the Red Cross works to find them a place to stay in a hotel, shelter or with family.
The Edwards family is staying with relatives for now and trying to stay positive.
If you would like to help the Red Cross in their efforts to help the community, you can learn more here.
If you would like to make a donation to the Edwards family you can drop items off at Niles Ferry Church at 6895 U.S. 411, Greenback, TN 37742 and Greenback School at100 River Road, Loudon, TN 37774.