Fires Burning Up Charity Dollars

12-20-05 - More flames, less funds; a local agency is the first to help in times of need, but a record breaking fire season is making that much harder this year.

Firefighters have been busy with an overwhelming number of grassfires, but they're also seeing a spike in the number of house fires this season as well.

The reasons are difficult to pinpoint, but it could be a combination of things like the dry weather and more people using space heaters at home. Either way, the Texoma Chapter of the American Red Cross has helped more than 50 families affected by house fires since just this summer. That's three times the number of cases they worked last year.

Sharon Watson with the Texoma Chapter said, "We look at October through March as our quote, “fire season,” but for us it happened back in August this year. That's when we started having a lot of house fires and it has continued that way, and if it continues, then it's going to be particularly devastating to us."

The Texoma Chapter of the American Red Cross spends anywhere from $500 to $1,000 helping a family get back on their feet after a fire, and the agency is concerned they'll face major financial problems if more fires break out.

Traditionally, we see more fires as the temperatures drop. The Sherman Fire Department says 25 percent of their house fires are caused by misusing space heaters.