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      Red Cross sees huge increase in the number of families displaced by fires

      Losing everything in a house fire is devastating and leaves the victims in a state of shock. That's why American Red Cross volunteers step up to help out.

      Nanci Conley, executive director of Coastal Chapter of the American Red Cross says the number of fires this fiscal year is up 23 percent over last year.

      "In that last five months, since July 1, the Red Cross has responded here in the Coastal Chapter to 84 families who have lost their homes to fires. That's 254 local residents whose lives were changed forever due to a home fire," said Conley.

      In that same time frame, the Pee Dee's Red Cross Chapter has responded to 102 fires, assisting 318 people.

      That assistance takes many forms in addition to the basics like food and clothing.

      "If they need eyeglasses, for example, prescriptions; work with them in talking to their employers, talking to schools," said Conley.

      Mental health services are also provided.

      "Are they emotionally unstable? Is there some additional need that they have? Are they crying more than maybe they should be?" said Judy Delsignore, American Red Cross trainer.

      Those services are even more important for fire victims this time of year.

      "This time of year in particular we try and keep an eye on our families because we're coming up on the holidays, and so they'll reach for things that aren't there anymore because they're lost in the fire," said Delsignore.

      Volunteers are in high demand.

      To volunteer for the Coastal Chapter,click here.

      To volunteer for the Pee Dee Chapter, click here.