AUSTINTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – A family in Austintown lost their home in a fire overnight. Now, the Red Cross is stepping in to help.
Crews were called to the house on Crum Road just after 2:30 a.m. Austintown Fire Chief Andrew Frost said it took two hours to get the fire out and it was still smoldering at 4:30 a.m.
When firefighters got there, debris blocked their way of getting into the house and flames had ripped through the roof.
The family got out safely, but not before they tried to put the fire out themselves.
The cause of the fire is under investigation.
“These folks, I’m told they lost everything,” said Red Cross spokesperson Jim McIntyre.
The agency offered the family financial assistance and hygiene items, but McIntyre said the Red Cross is looking for a little help of their own. They are down volunteers since the pandemic started.
“We don’t have enough volunteers. Ninety percent of the Red Cross force is volunteer,” he said. “The majority of our volunteers are retired folks. People who have the time and inclination to help their neighbors.”
Since older people are more at risk for complications from COVID-19, many are reluctant to volunteer right now, and McIntyre understands that. That is why he is calling on others to step up.
“All the training is virtual. It only takes a couple of hours. We can get you trained and put you on a schedule so that you will be qualified to help your neighbors in need,” McIntyre said.
The Red Cross reports they have responded to 17 disaster incidents in Mahoning County since July 1.
They say 19 families have been helped. Most of those disasters were house fires.
To learn more on how to volunteer go to redcross.org.