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Thursday, Apr. 28, 2016

Help continues for victims of recent fires

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Crews battle the recent fire at the Steve Custis residence on Manhattan Road. [Order this photo]
GREENCASTLE -- Jim Christy and Bob Evans with Collins Evans have opened a fund for the Steve Custis family, which lost its home in a fire last week.

Using their personal funds, the two men decided to open the account because they know Custis.

"He's a good guy and they are a great family," said Evans, whose wife Sharon taught Steve in elementary school.

The home is a charred skeleton following the fire that began in the late afternoon last Wednesday on Manhattan Road.

The Reelsville Fire Department, assisted by several other departments, was dispatched to the residence on C.R. 325 W (Manhattan Road).

An earlier report in the Banner Graphic stated that according to Reelsville Fire Chief John McPherson, Thursday's weather, coupled with the house's construction, likely made the fire spread quicker than expected.

The structure was a log home -- wood floors, wood walls, wood ceiling, wood roof -- and the fire took off quickly.

Winds also made containing the fire to the structure a bit tricky. A grass fire spread on the north side of the house into the woods and onto a nearby property.

McPherson estimated the loss to be $90,000 for the structure and $20,000 for the contents.

The Wabash Valley Red Cross who was able to be at the scene of the fire provided aide to the family.

"They had a little girl who was four years old and we got her a teddy bear right away. We were also able to provide the family with a debit card to help with groceries and any immediate needs. They did not need shelter right way as they were going to stay with family members," said Lisa Clark with the Putnam County Red Cross.

Clark also said the Red Cross was able to provide some aid to the four families displaced by a fire at Parkwood Village on Wood Street that severely damaged two units, with the other two sustaining smoke and water damage.

The unit where the fire started was home to a mother and her teenage child. They had someplace to stay after the fire, but the Red Cross was able to provide groceries and clothing for the two.

The second unit destroyed had a lady with her out-of-state daughter staying with her, and the Red Cross was again able to provide groceries and clothing for both.

One of the units with heavy water and smoke damage had a husband and wife living in it prior to the fire. The Red Cross provided lodging, clothing and groceries for them.

The last family had a two-year-old baby. They were able to stay with family and the Red Cross provided groceries and clothing for them.

A local realtor offered some reduced rate rentals to any of the families who needed them. Clark did not know if any of the families took advantage of the offer.

"These things only cover immediate needs until the insurance kicks in," added Clark.

Only one of the four families had renters insurance.

"A lot of renters just don't think about insurance until something happens," said Clark.

The average amount spent by the Red Cross is about $600 per fire.

"We've already helped five families this year," added Clark.

Donations for the fire fund can be made to the Red Cross by contacting them at 653-6616.

Anyone who wishes to donate to the new fund can go to any Old National Bank and ask to make a deposit in the Benefit of Steve Custis account,

Any questions about the Custis fund can be made to Bob Evans at 653-3141.

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While it was 15 years ago when our house burned, I certainly remember Red Cross showing up. We were lucky to have the best insurance and family to stay with, so we had money that next day from insurance to buy necessities and clothes. But what I remember about Red Cross was the image of them literally wrapping a blanket around my father who had shredded his clothes trying to get into the house to save the pets. It was the coldest day of the year that year and he was soaked. They gave him a cup of coffee and he still remembers it as the best coffee he's ever tasted (and he hates coffee!) Red Cross is worth so much more than its valued

-- Posted by snowboardermom on Wed, Apr 7, 2010, at 8:37 AM

Way to go Red Cross. I have seen the many benefits you do throughout the county, and it is very positive. I personally used your services at the 4-H fair and it was much appreciated.

-- Posted by purduegrad on Wed, Apr 7, 2010, at 11:24 AM

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