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Getting help after a fire

Three home fires in the last few days have displaced several families in the Corridor.
Three home fires in the last few days have displaced several families in the Corridor.
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Three home fires in the last few days have displaced several families in the Corridor.

It is unimaginable losing everything you own in a fire.

Luckily, thanks to the American Red Cross, volunteers are just a call away from helping when you are in a very stressful situation.

"I've been to quite a few fires here in Cedar Rapids," Clifford Haynes, American Red Cross Volunteer, said.

Haynes got the call to help families displaced by Thursday's fire at two in the morning.

"In apartment fires they are spread out so I kinda stay in one spot and they start coming to me," he said.

When he gets there, he says he talks to the fire chief first.

Then he talks to the families to find out what happened, what they lost and if they need a place to stay.

"They are obviously stressed out and this is very traumatic for them," he said. "I always try to tell them that when the Red Cross gets involved you're no longer a fire victim, you're a Red Cross client."

The American Red Cross helps them find a hotel. They hand them a disaster assistance card to cover costs like clothes and toiletries.

"We try to be there for them every step of the way," Haynes said.

Experts say whether you own a million-dollar home or rent an apartment, having renter's insurance or home insurance is very important.

"Unfortunately people don't really think about renter's insurance unless the landlord's require it," Insurance agent Ed Faber said,

He said renter's insurance covers three things.

"It helps a displaced person establish residency somewhere else, it covers their personal property so they can recover faster and if they are at fault there's coverage in there for their liability," Faber said.

All things Haynes said he'll also help families figure out during tough times.

"It amazes me how thankful people are," Hayne said. "It kinda gets you sometimes because they're having the worst day you can imagine and they're still grateful, polite and we do our best to help them out."

Haynes has volunteered for the American Red Cross for almost a year and said each time he's surprised how grateful families are to see him and for his help.

Insurance agents say it's important to get renter's insurance to help cover injury, property damage or temporary living costs.

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You can get a good rate if you combine it with your auto insurance.

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