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Red Cross steps in after Mt. Hood Village fire posted on 04/01/2018

Through the light snow, the homey scent of wood fire drifts from metal chimneys protruding from manufactured homes in a quiet community in Welches. The comforting aroma belies the risk of fire, and on March 5 a wood stove caused a home fire that left two adults and six children in need of Red Cross disaster assistance.

The Hoodland Fire Department received the call for the fire at approximately 10:30 a.m. March 5. The fire occurred in a manufactured home in the Hood Course Acres mobile home park in the 25200 block of East Welches Road in Mt. Hood Village.

A representative for the fire department reported that the fire was caused by a wood stove that was installed without proper clearance. The fire caused damage to an exterior wall and damaged electrical wiring that had to be removed from the dwelling.

Lieutenant Phil Burks of the Hoodland Fire Department described the incidence as a minor fire. He stated the lack of power left the mobile home temporarily uninhabitable.

“It probably cost more in the long run,” said Lieutenant Eric Macy of the Hoodland Fire Department, referencing the improperly installed wood stove. He cited the costs of displacing the family and the damage to the property.

The Red Cross responded to the home fire disaster and helped eight people impacted by the fire address immediate needs, such as temporary shelter, food, clothing and health and mental health services.

A Red Cross representative, Amelia Holmes, explained that the Red Cross in Oregon and Southwest Washington (the Cascades Region) helps an average of three families affected by disasters every day.

The Red Cross works to connect victims of home fire disasters with local aid providers, such as Goodwill for clothing, and regional health care providers for health and mental health services.

“It’s not just that we respond… we try to make sure people are prepared,” Holmes added, referencing the Home Fire Campaign, the preparedness side of Red Cross Disaster Cycle Services.

Residents throughout Oregon and Southwest Washington can get free smoke alarms installed in their home year-round by contacting the Red Cross at 503-528-5283, making an appointment at www.redcross.org/CascadesHomeFire, or emailing preparedness@redcross.org.

Hoodland Fire responded to six building fires in 2017, and 10 chimney or flue fires that remained confined to the chimney during the same year. Fires accounted for 3.78 percent of the incidences the department responded to during the last calendar year.

By Benjamin Simpson/MT

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