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In the early morning hours of Feb. 2, over a dozen people in Arcata were left homeless from an apartment fire, and two Fortuna residents also lost their single family home. The Humboldt County Chapter of the American Red Cross has provided disaster relief services in both instances.

The Arcata fire affected mostly students from HSU, as well as a few others. The Red Cross is working closely with Humboldt State University to provide aide to their students, and is helping the non-students on an as-needed basis. No one was seriously injured in either the Arcata or Fortuna incidents.

Red Cross Disaster Director Chris Koczera and Disaster Action Team volunteers Philip Anderson and Wayne Martins assisted several of the victims by providing emergency vouchers for temporary housing, clothing, and personal items lost in the fires.

Disaster Action Team members are all volunteers who respond when called to the scene of residential fires, giving assistance by using the donations from other Humboldt County residents who support the mission of Red Cross.

According to Barbara Caldwell, Executive Director of the Humboldt County Chapter of the American Red Cross "Our primary mission is to provide disaster relief to people like those who have lost their homes this week. All of our services are provide free of charge. This week’s responses took a large toll on our disaster relief fund. We would greatly appreciate monetary donations from the community to bolster the Chapters disaster relief fund ahead of future fires and disasters."

Donations made to the Humboldt County Chapter provide services to Humboldt County residents such as disaster response and training for volunteers who help victims of disasters. To donate to the Local Disaster Relief Fund, call (707) 443-4521 for credit card donations, e-mail humboldtredcross@pacbell.net or mail checks to American Red Cross, P. O. Box 3402, Eureka CA 95502.

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