Friday's blaze in York City was the third in a series of fires that has displaced residents in York County.

The local chapter of the American Red Cross has offered assistance to residents in all those fires, and a spokeswoman said fires are common this time of year.

"Unfortunately, we see this a lot when the weather gets cold," said spokeswoman Kathy Smyser.

Cooking mishaps are the most common causes of home fires, followed by heating mishaps, she said.

"Right now, we have both of those problems coming together," she said.

To best serve victims of such disasters, the Red Cross launches a campaign every January called Fire Hurts, Red Cross Helps.

Donations, which help local victims, can be made online at www.firehurts.org or mailed to the York-Adams chapter at 724 S. George St., York, PA 17401.

The donations help provide clothes, food, shelter, eyeglasses, medication and more to families homeless after fires, Smyser said.

The Red Cross responds to a fire once every 19 hours in central Pennsylvania.

During the last fiscal year, it responded to 85 incidents in York and Adams counties and helped 79 families.

"Of those, 98 percent of our responses were to house fires," Smyser said.

In addition to helping families after a disaster, the Red Cross also offers fire safety and prevention tips on its website at www.redcross.org.


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