Utah Red Cross aids fire victim
July 1, 2008
Hours after Doug Locklair awoke to find the Old Town house he was renting in flames, the Utah Red Cross was helping the 27-year-old find housing, contact lenses and clothing.
"They lost everything," said Red Cross communications director Susan Thomas. "We make sure they have food, water and the basic necessities."
Locklair ran from the historic home in the 700 block of Norfolk Avenue wearing only his boxers. the middle of the afternoon Wednesday, he had been outfitted with clothes and a place to stay. He also was being fitted for contact lenses.
Optometrist Bradley Rounds of Wasatch Vision Center in Heber donated time and trial contacts to the fire victim. Locklair’s prescription is negative 6.5 in each eye. "My eyes are awful," Locklair said. "I wouldn’t have been able to see without the contacts."
Thomas said the Red Cross assists between 50 and 90 victims of house fires in the state each year. "These are situations where people are on the curb and in their underwear with no money, no wallet, no cell phone," she said. "We can help people with all the basic necessities."
Thomas also praised the community for coming to the rescue in the wake of a fire that damaged three homes in Old Town. "It’s just awesome that someone in the community is out there ready to help," she said.
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Locklair and his roommates did not know where they would be housed long term, but Thomas said the Red Cross is sometimes able to help fire victims with security deposits and first month’s rent.
Locklair, who has lived in Park City for more than a year, said the house fire was a traumatic experience, but that he was grateful for the kindness people in Park City had shown. "I smelled smoke and go up to check on my roommates," he recalled. "I went back into my room and it was on fire. It was like your favorite team had lost. But I know everyone will stand behind me. That’s the beauty of Park City."
He added that he also lost his snowboard, mountain bike and a few hundred dollars of art supplies in the fire.
Nevertheless, Locklair said he plans on staying in the ski town for another season. "Getting a little help means everything," he said. "If this is the way it’s going to be, I’m going to run for mayor. A fire’s not going to get me to leave."
Officials are still investigating the cause of the fire.