Smithfield Herald

Red Cross seeks donations

The number of house fires in Johnston County is up, meaning more families are in need this holiday season.

Abby Cameron is director of the Triangle Red Cross, which helps fire victims in Johnston County. In November, she said, the county had five house fires, about twice as many as usual.

“With the cold weather, we generally see an uptick in fires,” Cameron said. And this was an unusually cold November.

The Red Cross has a team of volunteers on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week to respond to house fires.

Ronald Norms of Petersville Road, Four Oaks, is still looking for help to recover from the fire three weeks ago that destroyed his home.

“There’s nothing left at all,” said Norms, who also has medical bills after losing a leg to amputation.

“I thought I was going to live in that house the rest of my life, and I don’t know what I’m going to do now,” he said.

Norms, who is staying with his mother, needs money to buy clothes, shoes and Christmas presents for his two grown children. He also needs another place to live.

To help Norms, call First Baptist Church of Four Oaks at 919-963-2102. The church has set up a fund for him.

The Red Cross provides fire victims with a debit card to replace medicines and to buy bed linens, clothes and food. Also, it gives families money to stay a few nights in a hotel. The Red Cross has a nurse and mental-health counselor on call, and it refers families to other charities, including the Salvation Army and Johnston-Lee-Harnett Community Action.

If the house is a total loss, the Red Cross will pay the first month’s rent when the family finds a new place to live.

To donate to the Red Cross, go Cameron said two families need money right away to purchase medicine.