SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) – In Springfield, 18 people have lost their homes right before Thanksgiving after two fires just hours apart have shocked the local community.
The Red Cross is assisting those displaced however they said the increase in calls around the holidays is making it more difficult to help the victims.
Mary Nathan from the Red Cross of Western Mass. told us their staff has had trouble finding hotels and volunteers to help the number of people who need assistance as we head into the holidays.
Two fires on Sunday morning on Edgeland and Coomes Streets have left 18 people in Springfield without a home for the holidays.
Victor Judkins and his family lived in the Edgeland Street home. He told Western Mass News his family is now left with next to nothing as they manage this nightmare situation.
“It’s shocking emotions, disbelief, I’m thanking God we’re still here and nobody got hurt and we can always rebuild,” expressed Judkins.
The Red Cross was called to assist everyone affected by the fires with financial and emotional support in their time of need.
However, disaster program manager for the Western Mass. Red Cross Mary Nathan told us their volunteers are having trouble keeping up with the volume of calls they’re receiving.
“We’re busier at this time of year than it normally is,” Nathan explained. “Our volunteers are averaging going out to fires 3 or 4 times a week, which is a little bit more than normal.”
Nathan added that pairing the uptick in calls for help during the holiday season presents different challenges. They are having a harder time finding shelter for families.
“Our supervisors on the scene will call sometimes upwards of 12 hotels trying to locate hotels for the folks,” Nathan noted. “We give them enough financial assistance to get them through the first few nights and then we connect them with other resources, but even getting a few nights in a hotel is much more challenging.”
Nathan told us part of the solution is having more volunteers.
“The volunteer base that we have is very taxed because they’re going out a lot and we need more people that want to do this,” Nathan said. “There’s training involved and it’s very rewarding.”
There is a GoFundMe to help the victims of the Edgeland Street fire, for more information on how you can help, CLICK HERE.
Copyright 2023. Western Mass News (WGGB/WSHM). All rights reserved.