Allentown's 8th Street fire victims' situation brings to light importance of renter's insurance

Fire victims protest Red Cross for more help, Red Cross says they just need to ask

Fire victims protest Red Cross

ALLENTOWN, Pa. - Victims of last week's fire that destroyed eight rowhomes on North 8th St. in Allentown say the assistance from the Red Cross seems to be dwindling and are upset the agency isn't doing more to help.

"We don't have a place to go. We don't have no family around here that could support us or anything and every other agency and every other place that we went to turned us away. There's no funds in the Lehigh County for us and nowhere to place us," said fire victim Anna Santos.

Families affected by the fire protested the Red Cross Wednesday and voiced their discontent.

"We're out here protesting because the Red Cross threw us out of the hotel room, 15 children have nowhere to sleep, nothing to eat, and they just tell us now you have to find your way, a new home. We have no money, we have nowhere to go. Where's all the help you know? Come on," said fire victim Rafael Rodriguez.

But regional CEO for the Red Cross, John Hughes, tells WFMZ the Red Cross extended the families' stay at a local hotel twice and are doing what they can to help.

"We're doing extensive case work, follow up on a daily basis to make sure they're doing what they need to be doing and getting the other services that are available to them and making sure they're finding another place to go to, to live in," said Hughes. 

However, neighbors say many of the residents affected by this fire were uninsured.

Insurance agent with State Farm, Tim Brion, said renter's insurance is one of the best things one can do to protect themselves and their families in times of disaster.

"It's around $10 a month to cover about $20,000 of content so that price is going to go up or down depending on how much property you do have," said Brion.

Brion adds having insurance doesn't just help replace what's lost like clothing, furniture and all the other essentials but also helps cover what's needed in the meantime.

"There's some additional living expenses that are going to be incurred -- maybe the cost of a hotel or some other things that weren't normally going to be paid for but now they're going to have to pay for because of the fire," he said.

Having insurance according to Brion would allow agencies to step in where these families say the Red Cross left off.

"We would be so happy if we could just see somebody after a disaster and just give them everything they need that would be wonderful but that's just not realistic," Hughes said.  


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