Red Cross aids Ash St. fire victims

The Red Cross is aiding victims of the Ash Street Place fire.

The Red Cross Heart of Missouri Chapter helped residents displaced from Tuesday's fire at the Ash Street Place apartments in Columbia.

Authorities said the fire started around 11:30 a.m. Tuesday because of a malfunction in a light fixture in a third-floor bathroom.

Red Cross disaster specialist Phillip Iman said the Heart of Missouri chapter is working to assess the needs of all those affected.

"We make a determination, did they lose food, clothing and shelter. And we work with each family individually because each family has different abilities to recover," Iman said.

The Red Cross set up a shelter for displaced residents Tuesday night at nearby Broadway Christian Church.

"The Red Cross actually brings everything in a trailor. They brought in cots, they brought in the shelter kit which has all the paperwork in it, and they provided food for people who came to stay at the shelter," Debby Graham, head of the outreach ministry at Broadway Christian Church, said.

Iman said that in addition to providing monetary support for things like food and clothing, he hopes the Red Cross provides advice that will comfort victims and give them a plan of action.

"By us listening to them they realize that we care, and that we take the steps we can to assist them in that process...identifying [what they need] and helping them identify, empowering them," Iman said.