Hudson Malone resident says fire response could have been better - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Hudson Malone resident says fire response could have been better

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December 13, 2007

Albany-  A Hudson Malone Tower resident says Monday's disaster could have been handled better. Some complain help organizations didn't seem prepared to deal with the building's special needs victims.

Relief organizations say they're doing the best they can with the resources available, but when people don't donate their hands are tied and resources are scarce.

Vanessa Newell says the emergency response to Monday's fire at Hudson Malone Tower was great. Firefighters, police and paramedics were there to get people out of the building and give them medical attention. It's what happened that night that's a different story.

"I understand it was an emergency situation something had to be done, but I just don't think it was adequate," said Newell.

The American Red Cross had to deal with finding somewhere for 93 people to sleep that night, but Newell questions how it was handled.

"Not a night that I slept," said Newell.

"That is something we take very seriously and we would not put someone in a bad place, so we will definitely be looking into that situation," said Gina Sproul of the Southwest Georgia Chapter of the American Red Cross.

She also says the organization was stretched to deal with 93 elderly and disabled residents, all with special needs.

"You have people with high blood pressure, you've got people with diabetes, you've got people who didn't even have teeth to eat the food they were trying to give them," said Newell.

In an emergency, the American Red Cross says they do the best they can with the few resources they have.

"Certainly we try to take into consideration the special need of those clients and do everything in our power to satisfy someone who has say a diabetic issue or other food issue or something like that," said Sproul.

In the future Newell hopes they'll have a better plan.

The Red Cross says their plans depend upon community support and lately that support hasn't been there. They've already spent $25,000 on relief since July first and can't be wasteful with the few donated dollars they get.

The American Red Cross reminds people who do donate to specify donations to the Southwest Georgia Chapter of the American Red Cross.  They say if you don't and just make a donation to the American Red Cross they're forced to send that donation to their corporate office.

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