Red Cross assists more than 130 people during holidays

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB)–Since last Monday the Red Cross has responded to 45 different fires between Buffalo and Syracuse.

20 of those have been here in the eight counties of Western New York. It’s a dangerous time right now.

As we’ve seen, it can turn deadly, like the Town of Eden fire did earlier in the week.

Red Cross officials here in Western New York say typically they assist four families a day for various reasons, but they’ve been well above that average over the last week and a half.

Jay Bonafede says they’ve assisted more than 130 people in that time.

He tells us it’s no coincidence, that it’s typical to see an increase in fire calls during the holiday season.

“We often see that in the wintertime, in general as people are trying to heat their homes, space heaters, ovens, or just a general accident that’s involved. Even safe house heating can occur. During the holidays, we have trees. If trees are left dry they become a fire hazard, if they’re not well watered. You see candles being used,” Bonafede said.

Bonafede says thanks to year-round donations they’re able to immediately respond to any fire this time of year.

He says given that the risk is up right now, there are two things every family should do. First, test all smoke alarms to make sure they work and make sure every member of the family knows the escape plan in case of an emergency.

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