SINCLAIRVILLE - Relief efforts are under way in Chautauqua County for two families recently affected by fires.
The Southwestern New York American Red Cross announced Wednesday they are assisting families in Sinclairville and Jamestown after fires ripped through their homes.
Tina Jones, local Red Cross emergency services manager, said volunteers as part of the Disaster Action Team have remained in contact with the families. Relief efforts, she said, include temporary housing clothing and meals - although she would not specify what assistance those living in the homes were receiving.
Fire officials believe the cause of a fire at this 419 Hebner St. home Tuesday was a furnace malfunction.
P-J photo by Eric Tichy
"It's what we're here for, we provide for families that may be displaced from their homes," Jones said. "We're always there within a few hours, at all hours of the day."
On Dec. 29 around 5:30 p.m., Sinclairville firefighters were alerted to a structure fire at 5791 Damon Hill Road. Smoke could be seen billowing from the home, while flames were visible through a back window of the structure, fire officials said.
Doug Goodwill, Sinclairville first assistant fire chief, said a woman was at home sleeping when a smoke detector woke her up. She found her wall to be on fire.
It is believed the woman's husband and their 8-year-old child were out of town Saturday night when the fire broke out, Goodwill said.
"I was the first one on the scene and she came running out to me," the fire chief said recently. "She is perfectly fine, just a little shaken up." Cause of the blaze remains unknown due to damage sustained from the fire.
"We believe it started in the living room," Goodwill said last week. "The biggest problem was the tin roof. The fire got in between the tin roof and the roof itself."
Volunteer fire companies from Gerry, Ellington, Stockton, Ellery Center, Falconer, Kennedy, Kiantone and Frewsburg assisted in battling the blaze. The Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office also responded to the call.
"It's what we're here for, we provide for families that may be displaced," Jones said. "We're always there within a few hours, at all hours of the day."
City firefighters responded late Tuesday to reports of smoke coming from 419 Hebner St. in Jamestown. Fire officials believe the cause of the fire was a furnace malfunction. No injuries were reported and the Red Cross was notified shortly thereafter.
Jones said volunteers provide a "calming presence" during emergency situations. "That what our volunteers do, they sit and hold hands," she said. "We do a bit of mental health help, if you will. We absolutely have a calming effect on folks."
Matt Spielman, region editor at The Post-Journal, contributed to this story.