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Red Cross thanks public for generosity

Workers at the American Red Cross chapter in Lecanto want to thank Citrus County residents who have helped victims of three recent fires.

People whose homes have been destroyed by flames often turn to the Red Cross for shelter, food and clothing, said staffer Marge Self.

Requests for aid increased in the past three months, starting Dec. 21, when Rose Campbell's trailer burned in Lecanto. That was followed by a fire that ruined John Horton's home on W Dampier Street in Inverness and a Jan. 16 blaze that destroyed Daniel Hughes' trailer in Hernando, according to Mike Connell, head of the Citrus County Fire Prevention unit.

Eleven people lost their homes in the blazes, Connell said.

Donations of money, clothes and non-perishable food items have kept pace with demand, Self said.

"Every time we have a fire we have a good 30 calls to 50 calls over a two-day period," Self said. "The people are really absolutely great. The giving in this county is overwhelming. We had fires earlier this year and we had the same response."

In fact, with all the donations coming in, Self says she has developed a new problem: space. The Red Cross headquarters, in a trailer at the county's government complex off County Road 491, is too small to hold everything.

"What I really need is a storage shed," she said. "I have a few boxes that I'm trying to decide what to do with right now."