SPOKANE, Wash.--The Red Cross shelter that housed 55 people who lost their homes in a North Spokane apartment complex fire closed after almost a week on Friday. Officials with the Red Cross said it was the longest time a shelter stayed open since 2008.
The Red Cross normally responds to single-family homes. It is extremely rare for many people to be displaced at once.
"We have apartment fires, but this was 55 people in just a few hours who lost everything,” said Director of Communications for American Red Cross Megan Snow.
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The Red Cross called on 40 volunteers to help families who lost their homes in April. They opened a shelter at Spokane Friends Church on Dalke and Maple. Almost 20 people stayed at the shelter for just under one week.
"To have a shelter open for a week. It was a really big response for us,” said Snow.
The Red Cross provided three meals each day and even paid deposits or first month’s rent to help the victims get back on their feet. Each family was given some money from the Red Cross. It cost about $25,000.
The last time the Red Cross opened a shelter was in June of 2013 after another apartment complex fire.
The biggest Red Cross response was in 2008 during the Valley View fire when hundreds of people turned to the Red Cross for help.
Volunteers said they fundraise all year for disasters.
"It's something we do day in and day out just anticipating that these types of disasters can happen here,” said Snow.
The Red Cross has dozens of designated shelters around Spokane. They partner with places like community centers and schools in order to use the space for free. They have hundreds of volunteers on standby.
"It was a really high spend for us. But we're really happy we had the resources available,” said Snow.
The $25,000 came out of the regional Red Cross fund.