PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The American Red Cross has been working around the clock to help 41 Rhode Islanders who have been displaced by fires in the past week.
Red Cross volunteers have responded to five house fires since last Friday.
The first destroyed a home on Pevear Avenue in Warwick Friday night, displacing the two residents that lived there.
Then on Wednesday, 20 Woonsocket residents were forced from their apartment building after a fire broke out on the second floor. One resident was treated for smoke inhalation after running back inside the burning building to rescue his pets.
Red Cross volunteers were extremely busy Thursday, responding to house fires in Pawtucket, East Providence and West Warwick. Those fires collectively displaced 17 people.
“Thursday was hectic, I think, for all of us at Red Cross,” Johann Coetzer-Liversage said.
The devastation has left volunteers like Red Cross volunteers like Coetzer-Liversage working overtime.
“We just do what we have to do and respond where we need to respond,” he said.
Coetzer-Liversage said the fires have impacted several families, most of which include children and pets.
“Some of [the displaced residents] will go back to family members, but others have absolutely nowhere to go,” Coetzer-Liversage explained. “We get them into a hotel, we make sure that they get food and clothing if there’s no clothing … we make sure they’re OK and we look at all of their immediate needs.”
Despite the surge in house fires, Coetzer-Liversage said he and his fellow volunteers remain focused on helping those in need.
“We are managing through them one step at a time and one family at a time,” he said.