Thursday, January 26, 2017

"I'm grateful for the Red Cross"

This is what was left of Martinez's Bailey Avenue apartment
complex after an early-morning fire
Like all of the tenants of her Bailey Avenue apartment complex in Buffalo, Miriam Martinez was sound asleep when a fire broke out early Saturday morning.

"It all happened so fast," Martinez says. Luckily, she was awoken by a smoke alarm that had been installed by American Red Cross volunteers only three weeks earlier.

"That will save you're life," she said, explaining that she encourages others to have smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors installed. Unfortunately, Martinez knew the importance of being prepared, as Saturday's incident was the third house fire she's suffered in her life.

"I'm grateful for Red Cross, they came immediately," she told us when this latest fire broke out in her apartment. She was also pleasantly surprised to recognize some of the volunteers from her previous experience with the Red Cross as they responded to the scene of this latest disaster. She says having familiar faces around her helped her feel more at ease.
Miriam Martinez with her family and other tenants of the
Bailey Avenue apartment fire

In addition to that comfort, the Red Cross provided food, clothing and support for 17 people, including Martinez, after this fire. Volunteers also provided some residents with temporary housing, but Martinez was staying with her son and his girlfriend, who invited other tenants to stay with them as well. The residents of the Bailey Avenue complex are are one big family, all concerned for each other. Despite the tragic events, everyone was keeping a positive attitude, and in addition to the Red Cross, other community groups were also coming to help. The atmosphere was positive in a tragic event.

"This truly is the City of Good Neighbors," Martinez says.

The Red Cross Home Fire Campaign helped saved the life of Miriam Martinez and the other residents of this apartment complex. Experts say you have as little as two minutes to safely escape a burning home, and working smoke alarms can cut the risk of dying in a house fire in half. The Home Fire Campaign offers free smoke alarms with installation as well as fire preparedness education.If you want to learn more or sign up for a free installation then you can click here.

--Emma Reeve
Communications intern