ST. LOUIS (KPLR) - The Red Cross of Eastern Missouri helped families burned out of the Norwood Court Apartments Saturday morning move from survival mode into the first phase of recovery.
"Typically, we provide housing for three nights,” Red Cross Spokesperson Peggy Barnhart looked over one of three charred buildings. “Just to give people time to figure something out.”
She admitted that survivors had a lot to figure out after fire forced those families into the street. The warming centers at Lucas Crossing Elementary School are now closed. But, Red Cross volunteers started Sunday morning by helping families recover.
"I think we will, by the end of the weekend, serve all 36 families,” Barnhart said. "We will continue helping families until they really are on solid ground."
Neighbors in the large complex could see toys, clothes, and lots of small children's shoes in the parking lot. The fire burned hot and fast, inside. Something almost as devastating waited outside.
"In the winter, people are leaving their homes before dawn, in house shoes and pajamas, and it is freezing, standing out watching everything in their lives go up in smoke,” Barnhart stared at one of three burned buildings. “And what the fire didn't consume, water and smoke did."
Barnhart said now that all the families are in safe temporary housing, it is time to help with medication, mental healthcare and a new place to live. She was just happy every member of each family survived the weekend.
"I am so grateful. It feels like a miracle."
If you know someone who needs help, call (314) 516-2700 or visit the Red Cross website.
If you think your smoke detector is broken or, you need a new alarm, call (314) 516-2797.