DALLAS COUNTY, Mo. -- The Red Cross has responded to a record number of house fires this year. The organization steps in to provide families immediate relief with a place to stay, food, clothing and shelter in the event of a fire.
Just this weekend the Red Cross has responded to fires and helped families in Humansville, Willard and Dallas County as well as other cities in the ozarks, that's more than twenty four people, many of them children.
KOLR 10’s Laurie Patton went to one family’s home in
“It just spread when we opened up this door”, Dennis and Jennifer McDowell are among hundreds of people who have lost all or part of their home to fire in the Ozarks this year.
“It just ignited and went from there”, the couple scrambled to get themselves and their pets out of the house in the dark.
“We had no power in the house at all because it had already tripped the breaker. From the front of the house the damage doesn't look that bad, but the attic and the roof took the brunt of the fire", McDowell says.
The McDowell's 18 year old daughter was at work, or she would have been in the home.
Fire, smoke and water damaged the rest of the home making it unlivable.
The McDowell’s said the Red Cross put them up in a hotel along with other help.
“The Red Cross was very good they were here shortly after the fire department got here they gave us three nights and helped us with some clothes and stuff.”
The family says without the help of the Red Cross immediately they would have had no place to go. The Red Cross has responded to more than 700 fires this year, they've helped an average of 8 people per day and responded an average of two fires each day.
Jennifer McDowell says if it weren't for family, friends and the Red Cross providing them shelter and clothes along with other help they don't know where they'd be.
“I'm grateful for the people who have pitched in”, Jennifer McDowell adds that losing evening can knock you off your feet, “This is our security, our home, place to lay your head and it's gone and, and that's what makes it so difficult."
McDowell says the help from the Red Cross is the first step in helping pick them back up.
“Until we can find which end is up again because right now our world is topsy-turvy”, Jennifer McDowell says in the meantime they will put their heads together and try to figure out what the next baby-step might be.
Dennis McDowell is thinking longer term, “We'll go from there, I want to rebuild the house back.”
If you would like to support the Red Cross or volunteer with the organization you can visit www.redcross.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Contributions may also be sent to the local Red Cross chapter.
Greater Ozarks Chapter:
1545 N West Bypass
Phone: 417-832-9500 or to the American Red Cross,