By: Sophie Kluthe
With less than 10 days to go before Christmas, Tyrel Whipple was not expecting to spend the cold morning of December 16th clearing what he could out of his apartment in Warminster, Bucks County.
Overnight, the fire department had rushed to the scene after one of the building’s units went up in flames. Because of the smoke, water and fire damage, all of the residents had to find somewhere else to stay. A Red Cross disaster response volunteer had arrived on scene early in the morning to figure out what kind of support residents like Whipple would need.
The hallway in Whipple’s apartment building a few hours after the fire was put out.
Walking from the building to his car, holding a cardboard box filled with his possessions, Whipple said, “It’s going to cover me a place to stay until I can get everything figured out.”
He was among several residents from the building to work with the Red Cross, saying it made a huge difference in those crucial first days of recovery.
“All the help we received definitely helped ease our hardship.” Whipple said.
Whipple says the Red Cross had a hand in later steps of his recovery as well because of the referrals made to him by recovery specialists, connecting him with other organizations that could help fill a range of needs and replace various items lost in the process.
“We are really grateful for the help of your organization during our displacement,” Whipple said. “Another lady from your group has set me up with another group that can help us with resources for getting new furniture for when we can find another place to live. The Red cross has been really amazing!”
The scene outside Whipple’s apartment building while residents were gathering their belongings.
The apartment fire that displaced Whipple and his significant other was one of 521 home fires the Red Cross responded to last year in Southeastern Pennsylvania, providing emergency assistance to 2,734 displaced residents.
To learn more about what the Red Cross does in Southeastern Pennsylvania, visit: https://www.redcross.org/local/pennsylvania/southeastern-pennsylvania/about-us/our-work.html