The local Red Cross is assisting the 24 people who have been displaced by an apartment building fire Monday morning in Frederick. Executive Director Nick Geier says the Disaster Action Team was summoned to the Hickory Hill Apartments shortly at around 4:45 AM. "We're meeting their immediate needs, getting them food, clothing, shelter," he says. "There were some children, so some comfort items for them."
Geier says many of the displaced people were able to make arrangements for shelter with family and friends, and a few had to put up in hotels. "Between the hotel rooms and those who stayed with family members, we did not have to open a shelter," he says.
In addition to food, shelter and clothing, Geier says some members of the Disaster Action Team also provide mental health assistance because losing a place to live can be traumatic. "Our mental health workers are focused on that. It is a traumatic thing. It's not your typical mental health issue. It's a specialized group," he says.
The fire broke out at 1465 Key Parkway in Frederick at shortly after 2:15 AM on Monday. Frederick County fire officials says the fire fighters arriving on the scene saw heavy smoke, and flames showing from the windows and door. They were able to knock down the fire within 45-minutes.
Six people were taken to Frederick Memorial Hospital, and two adults and two children were taken to Medstar Burn Unit in Washington DC.
Investigators say the fire started in the first floor of the apartment building and spread to the second floor. The cause remains under investigation.
Fire officials say six of the apartments are uninhabitable.
Geier says the public can help these displaced residents by making a cash contribution to the Red Cross, rather then donating clothing, furniture or other items. "It's a lot easier for the client to be able to go out and get the things that they need when they need it," he says.
If you want to help, call the Red Cross' Walkersville headquarters at 301-662-5131. You can also go on line and make a contribution. The website addresses are www.redcross.org/chesapeake, or www.redcross.org/md/walkersville.