Monday, March 16, 2015

Disasters Never Take Holidays- Manassas Building Collapse

Disasters Never Take Holidays

Manassas Building Collapse

Written by: Sara Cook, volunteer

On Valentine's Day this year, many couples in the area stayed in for the night due to high winds and a snow squall.  For those living on Battle Street in Manassass VA, it was not the quiet night a couple expects when they choose to stay in for the holiday.

A portion of a building collapsed due to the extremely high winds. Residents heard a loud rumbling they thought was either a nearby train or thunder. Shortly after, fire trucks arrived to help evacuate residents of six nearby apartments.

The next day residents returned to gather belongings and make plans for recovery. The Fire Department assessed damages and the Red Cross Disaster Action Team (DAT) was called to help the residents manage their displacement. Five DAT volunteers setup in the command center the Emergency Responders had arranged. DAT also brought in an Emergency Response Vehicle (ERV) to help serve lunches and drinks to all of the responders and residents.

In total, 9 people were displaced from 6 apartments. DAT maintains the privacy of our clients, speaking with each household individually. As each case was addressed, clients were supplied with Comfort Kits as their need for lodging and financial supplement was evaluated and supplied.

Soon, all of the clients were making their way to stay with family or to a hotel provided by The Red Cross. As the crowd thinned out, the DAT team made sure the emergency responders were also taken care of since most of them had been on the scene for their entire shift. Before departing, the Red Cross cleaned up and left enough supplies to last the remainder of the day.

We're always looking for great volunteers willing to be on-call a few days a month to join DAT. To join, get started at Or browse other ways to help support those affected by everyday disasters at

See more of Sara Cook’s photos.

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