Syracuse Firefighters were busy this weekend. Crews responded to three separate fires in the city within twelve hours. That also kept the Red Cross busy providing assistance to families who lost their homes. Our Iris St. Meran spoke with both the fire department and Red Cross about some of the challenges they encountered over the course of the day.
SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- The community looked on as Syracuse firefighters worked to put this fire out at 112 Manilla Street. For Joseph Brooks, it was personal because he lived here with seven other family members including a great grandchild.
Brooks said, "I lost all my clothes, they lost all their clothes."
But he's grateful everyone made it out safely. This scene was all too familiar to firefighters this weekend.
Syracuse Fire Chief Mark McLees said, "We've been very busy. We had two fires overnight. We had one on Colvin and one on Spring. So this is our third fire in less than a 12 hour period."
These three incidents come on the heels of a record month for calls into the department.
In June, more than 2,000 alarms were recorded. The weather, the chief says, makes it harder for crews to do their jobs.
"You can see the look on all the firefighter faces,” McLees said, “They're pretty beat up. It's just hot, muggy and humid."
The Red Cross is also feeling the strain. They too, respond to these fires, providing relief to the crews trying to contain the flames.
Red Cross Team Leader Mike Kinahan said, "We're pretty well taxed with the heat and humidity. We have to make sure we get the drinks to the firemen."
And they had their hands full with helping families who have lost everything, nineteen people in all this weekend. They provided food, clothing and other needs. One challenge was shelter.
"We tried to put them in hotels, but this weekend with Blues Fest there's a shortage of hotels," said Kinahan.
Luckily they were able to arrange for hotel rooms for three of the five families who couldn't stay with other family members. And they will continue to help these families with other needs that may come up.
The team leader for the Red Cross said they are in need of hand towels, used to help cool firefighters off. To donate or learn more about how you can help them, visit