UPDATE: Red Cross helping family of six after East Lake fire - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

UPDATE: Red Cross helping family of six after East Lake fire

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

UPDATE: Moments after a family of six escaped their burning home on 14th Avenue, Jason Warren arrives. 

"Our job is to basically take care of the first 72 hours after they've had a disaster," he said. 

As a Disaster Program Specialist with the American Red Cross, Warren is one of the first people victims interact with after suffering a disaster. Friday morning, he came with the necessities. 

"Bags of soap, shampoo, sometimes razors, toothbrushes, toothpaste. Generally stuff they've lost in the fire," he added. 

Hours after crews left, the family stands outside what used to be their home taking in the hard reality that these lights will never come on again. One week before Christmas and their presents are gone. 

While Warren can't replace everything, he's able to help families in these situations with some financial relief. 

"We give them some assistance for getting a hotel room, getting money for clothing, for food," he said, "Anything that they will need for the first three days to a week."

Warren is also able to help steer victims in the right direction like replacing documents, finding a new place to live and referrals to other agencies. It's all designed to help east the burden when those find themselves with no where to turn. 

Channel 3 spoke with the family Friday afternoon. They did not want to go on camera but did they are staying in a hotel room. 

The American Red Cross runs completely on donations. If you would like to donate or volunteer some of your time, click HERE to learn how you can help. 

Investigators are still trying to figure out what caused the fire. 


PREVIOUS STORY: Fire investigators are trying to confirm the cause of a Friday morning fire.

Investigators are also working on confirming whether or not the rented house had working smoke alarms. The owner of the property told authorities that hard-wired smoke alarms had been installed in that house. 

Stay with Channel 3 as this story develops. 


PREVIOUS STORY: An early morning house fire Friday in East Lake has left six people homeless.

Chattanooga Fire Department spokesman Bruce Garner said that an alarm was received at 3:12 a.m. and four fire companies responded to the home on 14th Avenue.

When firefighters arrived, the entire back side of the house was engulfed in flames. 

It took the firefighters nearly 30 minutes to get the blaze under control. 

Neighbors reported hearing loud explosions, according to Garner. CFD Battalion Chief Chris Willmore said propane tanks used for cooking likely exploded. No injuries were reported.

Ismael Mendosa told firefighters that his son woke him to tell him the house was on fire. 

All of the occupants got out of the house safely, but it is unclear how many people lived actually lived in the house. 

The house was considered a total loss, with damages estimated at $60,000 for the building and its contents.

Chief Willmore said there was no evidence of a working smoke alarm in the house. 

The cause of the fire is undetermined and under investigation. 

Volunteers with the American Red Cross of Southeast Tennessee responded to the scene to provide assistance to the victims.

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