Red Cross, firefighters see spike in calls

OKLAHOMA CITY—As the colder temperatures bring a chill to the air, many Oklahomans are trying to keep warm.

However, those attempts have caused a spike in house fires over the last couple of weeks.

Ken Garcia, with the American Red Cross, said, “Since this cold weather that moved in before the storm that happened on Christmas, we started seeing an increase and once the storm hit and the temperatures dropped, we’re really starting to see a lot of calls for house fires.”

Friday, firefighters rushed to a fire in the 7500 block of N.W. 131st St.

When they arrived, they found flames and smoke pouring from the home.

The family was able to make it out safely but one of the family’s pets died in the blaze.

While crews are trying to put out the fire, the Red Cross volunteers are a little harder to spot.

They can usually be found with the victims, providing them with warm clothes or money for a hotel.

While the number of those needing help has jumped, volunteers say they are prepared.

Garcia said, “As far as getting our resources ready, we are always prepared. We have our client case work ready to go and our volunteers are ready on a moment’s notice.”

So far this winter, they’ve helped 30 people as a direct result of house fires across the state.

The organization is also warning everyone about the importance of smoke detectors and space heater safety.

He said, “Stay warm but be very careful and smart about how you are doing it.”