A fire that started Monday morning, is said to have been caused by arcing electrical wires. 16 units at the Peachwood Apartments in Southeast Fresno were left in ruins, and 31 people found themselves suddenly homeless.
Before the flames had resided, the American Red Cross' volunteer Disaster Action Team (DAT) was on site to provide comfort and assistance to the devastated residents. DAT members Katrina Poitras, Bob Wortman, Gary Crown, Cindy Thomas, Joy Dockter and, new member, Kristie Panas responded to the fire, giving victims funds for food, water, clothing and shelter over the next 3 days. These funds are provided by donors and earmarked to go to disaster relief.
After the event, Kristie posted on Facebook, "Went out on my first Red Cross Disaster call today. What an experience!!! Definitely made the right decision to be a DAT-RN". She is among a growing team of volunteers who are specially trained to respond to disasters and provide emergency relief to victims. DAT members also have the opportunity to respond nationally when major incidents like Hurricane Sandy occur.
It does not cost anything to become a DAT member - all the training, supplies and travel expenses are provided free of charge. Here in the Central Valley we are always looking for new members to build our team and improve our service.
If you are interested in becoming a Red Cross DAT member, please call 559-455-1000 or check out our website. Volunteer applications are also available here.