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Jan-06-2007 17:31printcomments

Salem Apartment Fire Displaces Four Families

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

apartment fire
Photo: Willamette Chapter of the Red Cross

(SALEM) - Late Friday night a fire at the Village East Apartment complex, located at 241 Village East Way SE, displaced four families.

Two apartments sustained major damage with two others being too heavily smoke damaged to live in.

Apartment managers Angel and Rita Estrada were called to the scene at 11:13 PM, just minutes after a 911 call alerted Marion County firefighters of the fire.

Fortunately no one was injured during the apartment fire and evacuation.

One firefighter was taken to Salem Hospital with unknown injuries.

Volunteers from the Willamette Chapter of the Red Cross were called to the scene at 11:30 PM.

The Red Cross provided emergency assistance to the displaced families by arranging for local hotel lodging and providing financial assistance for clothing, food and medication.

A city bus was brought in to use as a warm shelter for displaced apartment residents until lodging could be procured.

Scott Smith, a Red Cross volunteer for over five years said “This was a perfect example of people coming together to help their neighbors in need.”

Smith said that the bus provided a warm place for apartment residents to safely discuss their emergency needs. Smith added that the Estrada’s and another apartment resident, Nataly Arnautou were invaluable in the interview process.

The Estrada’ served as Spanish interpreters for a two of the families. Nataly Arautou interpreted for two of her Russian speaking neighbors.

Smith explained that neighbors often interpret when Red Cross workers encounter a language barrier. “I was so impressed to see people from such diverse backgrounds come together to help at a moments notice.”

Smith said the Red Cross needs more volunteers who are bilingual. The majority of Red Cross services are carried out by a volunteer workforce.

All Red Cross disaster assistance is free.

Funds are donated locally from community members.

To financially support the work of the Red Cross locally or volunteer visit the West Salem office located at 675 Orchard Heights Road NW or visit on line at or by phone at (503) 585-5414.

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