Thursday, May 19, 2016

Home Fire Required a Little Extra Care

Scene from Quail Cove Apartment fire in Colorado
Springs, CO. Photo courtesy CSFD PIO
By Walter Palmer

Relica discovered the Red Cross the way many people do; through a home fire. She was at work on Tuesday, April 5, 2016 when she got a call from a neighbor that there was a fire outside the apartment. By the time she got home 20 minutes later, she had lost everything! Fires spread quickly on wind-whipped days and in this case it spread into the Quail Cove Apartments in Colorado Springs, leaving eighteen people homeless. The Red Cross arrived quickly to help those affected find temporary lodging and begin their first step toward recovery.

The Disaster Action Team (DAT) began interviewing clients and when they got to Relica they quickly saw that she would need support beyond what is normally provided for disaster recovery. Her fiancé needed to be contacted and he was more than 7,000 miles away in Kuwait. DAT Captain Robert Rose knew exactly what to do.

Using the Red Cross Emergency Communications Service, an emergency message was sent to Army command in Kuwait to report the home fire. They contacted the service member and through that effort, he was granted emergency leave so that he could help Relica secure a new home. "We helped her make the call to the SAF support line," Rose said. "You could see the relief in her eyes knowing that the wheels were already turning to bring him home."

Fire fighters spray hot spots at Quail Cove Apartment fire
in Colorado Springs, CO. Photo  courtesy CSFD PIO
Relica, a native of Bulgaria, was very pleased with the support given to her by the Red Cross and was especially grateful for the effort to contact her fiancé.  “American Red Cross has been very helpful,” she said a few weeks after the fire. “Not only did they give me money to help me get clothes and food, they also helped get my fiancé back so that I didn’t have to do it all alone.” She has also been grateful for the follow up calls that have provided her with referrals for additional support and helped her work through the emotional stress.

The Red Cross responds to a home fire nearly every day in Colorado and provides support for the most immediate needs of those affected. It also supports our military service members, their families and veterans with emergency communications anywhere in the world so that families stay connected. Whether the need is money for temporary lodging or clothes, or the need to make contact with a loved one thousands of miles away, or both, the Red Cross stands ready to provide that support so that you don’t have to do it alone.

You can learn more about Red Cross services available to the military at You can find out more about Red Cross emergency assistance

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