It only took minutes for a Madera family to lose everything in a fire. And after the firefighters left, it was the Red Cross who stepped in to help the residents find shelter. It is a story that is repeated time and time again across the Valley.
"We responded to nine percent more family fires than we did the year before," Ellen Knapp said.
Ellen Knapp with the American Red Cross said in January alone there were 22 families displaced by house fires. And in just a six month period the Red Cross helped nearly 300 families. In many cases Knapp said it's not just a single family, but multiple generations sharing a home.
"If you put the combination of increased response, plus increased number of families, our disaster relief funding is really being stretched," Knapp said.
In addition Knapp said after the holidays there has been a slowdown in donations. Now the Red Cross is asking the community for donations so they can help others.
"Going to the families to help them with the hotels for temporary shelter, a debit card for food and clothing, sometimes they need medical supplies like medicine or eyeglasses, all those things, the Red Cross helps with after an emergency," Knapp said.
The Red Cross says the money donated to the local disaster fund will help families here in the Central Valley.
With the Red Cross responding to disasters in six counties, officials say your donation will go a long way in helping others during a devastating time.
To learn how to donate to the Red Cross click here.