From Fire Devastation To Thankfulness - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

9/27/2007-Smith Co.

From Fire Devastation To Thankfulness

Fire is devastating for anyone affected but when someone has no help it makes it much worse. This month, a fire in Hawkins nearly destroyed one family's apartment and they were at their wits end.

"This is where the flames were coming out. Right here," said Tempa Roehl.

Tempa and her 17 year old son woke up at 2am to flames filling their apartment.

"The blinds were melted, the kitchen pretty much everything was gone. This is where the smoke would have gone to and I don't think my son would have made it without a smoke detector," said Tempa, "I know what it feels like to be homeless and not know where to go."

But a friend told Tempa to call the Red Cross something Tempa had never thought to do.

"When I thought of Red Cross disaster I thought of hurricane Katrina, major major things. I never thought just a simple family could turn to them," said Tempa, "They gave me hope and I needed. Hope when I really really needed hope.

"Our mission is to help their immediate relief to keep them off of the streets and to have clothing. Because in a fire you lose everything," said Susan Campbell with the American Red Cross.

"The things that she told me and the options I had was like a weight lifted off my shoulders," said Tempa.

The Red Cross helped Tempa move into a new apartment, gave her vouchers for furniture and clothes at the Salvation Army, and some food vouchers as well.

"We also help them by giving them the financial assistance where they can go out and buy purchase these items that they need immediately. It's part of their recovery process," said Campbell.

Help to Tempa and to the thousands of others. Yet the Red Cross asks people to be prepared, be informed, something Tempa wishes she would have done.

"When you are dealing with a bunch of things and you don't think about the small stuff. While the Red Cross does and they did," said Tempa, "I recommend smoke detectors and renters insurance."

Information that Tempa says could mean so much the Red Cross suggests the public to be prepared by getting informed, making a plan, assembling a disaster kit, and maintaining your plan.

Danielle Capper, Reporting.


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