Red Cross faces challenges assisting Prov. fire victims

Courtesy: Madeleine Wright, WPRI

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Eyewitness News had learned the Red Cross is assisting dozens of residents displaced from recent house fires in the capital city.

A representative with the nonprofit says it’s challenging for the organization to respond to so many fires in the span of just a few weeks.

“Many of our volunteers go out to, some of them have been out to four or five fires in the last week,” says Liz McDonald, a spokesperson with the American Red Cross. McDonald goes on to say that it’s “a strain on families and lives, but again, [the volunteers are] willing to do what it takes to get the job done.”

Eyewitness News returned to the scene of one of these fires on Job street Sunday.

According to Battalion Chief Jeffrey Varone, the triple-decker caught fire Saturday afternoon after a cigarette was improperly discarded on a third floor balcony.

The blaze caused close to $100,000 dollars in damage, but the home is not a total loss despite the twelve displaced residents not being able to move back this week.

The fire caused extensive damage to the roof and there is water damage from the firefighting effort to put out the blaze.

Courtesy: Amber Perry, Fire Victim
Courtesy: Amber Perry, Fire Victim
Courtesy: Amber Perry, Fire Victim


As previously reported, seven Providence firefighters were brought to the hospital with various injuries Saturday. All of them were released Saturday night or early Sunday morning, but two firefighters with shoulder injuries will require orthopedic treatment.

The Red Cross responds to approximately 240 fires a year in Rhode Island and neighboring Seekonk, Mass. The organization is reliant on its 400 local volunteers to respond and help local families.

“Everything we do is by donations and the good thing about Rhode Islanders is we take care of our folks,” says McDonald.

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