Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Couple Recovers From Home Fire with Help From Red Cross

Story and Photo By Thea Skinner, American Red Cross

Tragedy struck again September 11, forever imprinted in the minds of Sabrina Fiorella and Dan Zuckerman. The couple awoke abruptly at 4:30 a.m. to a fire inside the residence on 4th street in Colorado Springs. The fire at the neighbor’s mobile home next door, at the end of the lot, had spread to their mobile home.

In the process of fleeing, their dog Mocha, a Boston terrier, ran back into the mobile home to a kennel. Zuckerman went back into mobile home and brought the dog outside to safety. “When the fire first happened, the smell was bad. I got used to it,” Zuckerman said. “The Red Cross really helped.”

Dan Zuckerman and Sabrina Fiorella discuss the night of
September 11, 2015 when their residence (left) was burned
by a fire that started by the neighboring mobile home (right).
The couple returned to the site to gather salvageable
 items during the recovery process.
The couple in crisis fled to a neighbor’s home with few items in hand. A friend directed Fiorella to the American Red Cross. A disaster action team, on call volunteers, met the couple at a local park and provided funds for a hotel and food, along with clothing vouchers through the Discover Goodwill Emergency Partnership.

By 1 p.m. the couple checked into a hotel and stayed in the hotel for three days. Their  journey toward recovery commenced taking approximately three weeks to gather resources and find a new apartment. The couple temporarily lived at a family member’s mobile home where they arranged with the neighbor for use of nearby electricity. A suitable permanent shelter with running water and electricity became a priority. Fiorella’s fellowship through a local church gathered donations. Red Cross connected her with The George W. Trimble Charity Fund to aid in replacing dentures lost in the fire.

“Be wise with your compassion,” said Fiorella. “Red Cross handled things so well. Dan I both have lost in our life and we learned to start over.”

The combined mutual aid from the Red Cross and community partners of several hundred dollars resulted in paying the deposit and first month’s rent for an apartment. In addition, the Salvation Army of El Paso County delivered household items to the apartment.

The couple had lived at the residence for 13 months with plans to purchase. Unfortunately the mobile home was declared uninhabitable. Fiorella later returned to the mobile home to pluck buds from hibernating flowers in the yard. She will plant the buds at the couple’s present home - A symbol of growth and active recovery.

GET INVOLVED People can visit to find out more about how to protect themselves and their loved ones from fire or to find out about smoke alarm installation events in their community. They can also help by volunteering their time or making a donation today to Red Cross Disaster Relief by visiting, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Donations to Disaster Relief will be used to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small. We respond to nearly 70,000 other disasters every year, from home fires to hurricanes and more. Learn more about how Disaster Relief donations have helped people affected by previous disasters including home fires.

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