WATCH LIVE

RED CROSS TRYING TO KEEP UP 

&quot:we are on track to have one of the biggest years ever and we have already – totally- gone over our budget for 2008 – 2009.&quot:

GRETCHEN O’GRADY SAYS FIRE AFTER FIRE THIS WINTER HAS DRAINED THE RESOURCES OF THE PINE TREE CHAPTER OF THE AMERICAN RED CROSS…

THEY HELP FAMILIES FROM KNOX TO AROOSTOOK COUNTIES GET THEIR LIVES BACK TOGETHER IN THE DAYS IMMEDIATELY AFTER A FIRE.

&quot:in the middle of winter, a fire is just devastating.&quot:

SHE SAYS SINCE MID-DECEMBER, THEY’VE RESPONDED TO A FIRE A DAY – MUCH MORE THAN LAST YEAR.

&quot:definitely seems to be an increase in fires in the area.&quot:

CAPT. BRENT MELVIN OF THE BREWER FIRE DEPARTMENT SAYS COLD WEATHER FIRES ARE CHALLENGING.

&quot:they’re more difficult to fight because we have to deal with the cold weather, worry about freezing up our equipment, our breathing apparatus tends to freeze up if we’re not careful.&quot:

AND THE COLD MAKES IT HARDER FOR FAMILIES TO PICK UP THE PIECES.

&quot:especially in the winter, you’re meeting with a family in a car, it’s freezing, the fire department is freezing, everything is freezing on contact. I can’t think of a worse scenario.&quot:

THE RED CROSS SPENDS FROM 400 TO 12-HUNDRED DOLLARS PER FAMILY, PER DAY AFTER A FIRE…MONEY GOING QUICKLY NOW.

O’GRADY SAYS WITHOUT AN INFUSION OF DONATIONS….BY THE END OF JANUARY…THEY’LL BE IN A DIRE FINANCIAL SITUATION.

&quot:we don’t receive any federal funding or money from the national red cross, so every dollar that we spend on a family in maine comes from the communities we serve.&quot:

THE FOLKS AT THE RED CROSS ARE ALWAYS LOOKING FOR DONATIONS…ESPECIALLY NOW, WHEN THEY’RE STRETCHED SO THIN…

IF YOU’D LIKE TO CONTRIBUTE, LOG ON TO PINE TREE DOT RED CROSS DOT ORG…OR CALL 941-2903.