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July 25, 2021

Red Cross helps Utah families affected by rash of apartment complex fires

The American Red Cross has stepped in to help those affected by five apartment fires in Utah. (Winston Armani)

OGDEN — In the past week, the American Red Cross in Utah has helped 120 people affected by five apartment complex fires from Ogden, Salt Lake City and Murray.

“We have been busy, but that’s why we are here — to help people,” said Kirsten Stuart, who is with the Northern Utah Chapter of the American Red Cross based in Ogden.

Stuart showed KSL-TV some of the items they give to families right away, such as food, drinks, clothing, and a bag of small supplies.

“When your house burns down and this is the only shampoo and conditioner you have, it kind of puts new perspective to the situation that you’re in,” said Stuart.

The Red Cross also helps people affected by disasters with a temporary place to live, if needed.

In Utah, Stuart said on average, the Red Cross handles three to five fires a month.

Dealing with five large fires in a week is unusual, but she also said that’s why the Red Cross exists.

“People are in some of their toughest times in these situations,” said Stuart. “It’s nice that we can come and give them a blanket or some small supplies or something and give them a little bit of a glimmer of hope for a really tough situation.”

In the latest apartment fire, which happened at the Stillwater Apartment Complex in Murray Thursday morning, police arrested a 27-year-old man and charged him with arson.

In that fire alone, 50 people were affected.

Investigators were still looking into some of the other apartment fires.

Stuart said the Red Cross could always use more donations, since they are not a government-funded organization.

“For every dollar you donate, 90-cents goes directly to disaster relief,” she said.

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