Rash of holiday fires keeps Red Cross busy

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By Andrew Michalscheck By Andrew Michalscheck

PHOENIX -- A number of families throughout the Valley are in need of help after fires destroyed their homes and possessions.

The holidays often bring an increase in fires due to the use of candles, Christmas lights, extension cords, and kitchen appliances used to heat homes on cold nights. 

Whatever the reason, the large number of fires in the past couple of weeks has the Grand Canyon chapter of the Red Cross working to find places to stay and everyday necessities for those who lost everything.

Todd Tamcsin, a volunteer with the Red Cross, said replacing immediate needs such as medicine, food and clothing, as well as providing money for motels, is what the Red Cross does first. 

From there, they put fire victims in touch with government and other agencies that can help them get back on their feet while dealing with insurance and other fire related issues. 

That's exactly what the seven people displaced by a fire Wednesday at 26th Avenue just north of Deer Valley Road needed.

Charles Reinggruber, who owns the property, said the mobile homes and small houses those people called home were totally destroyed by the blaze.  He's not sure how much his insurance will cover but he's thankful the Red Cross was there to help. 

He said when he gets back on his feet, he'll gladly donate to the organization that is helping his neighbors in need.

If you'd like to help the Red Cross help others,  you can donate by calling 1-800-redcross, or go to arizonaredcross.org.  You can also donate $10 by texting to 90999.