The Boise branch of the American Red Cross is helping over a dozen families affected by a Saturday apartment fire in Boise that left one person dead and five more injured, according to the Boise Fire Department.
It’s unclear exactly how many families were displaced by the fire, which burned at least part of a unit at Arbor Crossing Apartments on the 5100 block of West Stoker Lane. Red Cross spokeswoman Anna Fernández-Gevaert said the organization is aiding 21 families in some capacity.
“We met with 19 households yesterday and assessed what each family’s needs are,” said Fernández-Gevaert. “To what extent we’ve had to help each family, I don’t really know.”
She said the Red Cross’s focus is helping people get back on their feet in the immediate aftermath of disaster, which means helping find a place to stay and offering pre-loaded debit cards to stock up on essentials.
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“We leave it up to them to make the decisions on how to spend those funds. We want to empower people to take care of themselves, and that’s what people seem to prefer,” said Fernández-Gevaert.
She said of the 19 families the Red Cross has spoken to so far, it’s not clear how many were allowed back into their apartments. Some may also choose to stay with family or friends, she said.
According to Fernández-Gevaert, 40 adults and 28 children made up those that the Red Cross is helping. If other families were affected in the fire, she said, they can reach out to the Red Cross for assistance.
The Boise Burnout Fund is also offering financial support to those affected. In addition, the Red Cross provided emergency mental health assessments for victims.
“These kinds of things are very traumatic, so we do an assessment of each person we help to see are they coping or do they need a little more extensive disaster mental health,” Fernández-Gevaert said.
Fire officials said two adults and one child were treated for non-life-threatening injuries at the scene of the fire, and one person was sent to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. A firefighter also sustained minor injuries.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation.
The identities of the injured and the individual who died had not been released by Sunday afternoon. Authorities said they were still investigating the cause of the fire.