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LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES

Interview With April Brown of the Arizona Red Cross

Aired June 20, 2003 - 20:10   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: The Aspen fire has devastated Summerhaven -- the Aspen fire that Dan Lothian was just talking about. Officials say at least half of the 500 or so homes and businesses in the vacation community have been swept up in smoke and ashes. And it could get worse. Summerhaven has been evacuated. But there are about 100 permanent residents and many part-time residents and tourists who spend a considerable amount of time in the area. When they return, the odds are already against them that they're going find their homes untouched by the flames and many may need some kind of support.
April Brown is with the Arizona Red Cross and she joins us live.

April, tell us about how bad this situation is.

APRIL BROWN, ARIZONA RED CROSS: Well, these folks are really going through a tough time. Last night, they saw photographs on television of structures burning. Some of them said that they actually identified their own homes. So it's been real difficult for them. We've had counselors with them all day so that they can really talk about what they're feeling, what they're going through.

They do need a lot of assistance. They're getting a lot of assistance from the community. But it's really been difficult for them.

COOPER: And about how many people have been seeking the help of the Red Cross there?

BROWN: We've had 61 people register with us. And that means that we can help them facilitate communication with their families who may not otherwise have a way to get in touch with them.

We've been housing 57 folks at a local hotel that have given rooms for free. So that's been a real comfort for them, that they can be in a great place, a comfortable place while they're awaiting some devastating -- potentially devastating news.

COOPER: Yes, absolutely.

And what sort of services have you been offering? I mean, you mentioned helping them get placement in these hotels. You mentioned some counseling. Anything else?

BROWN: Right, a lot of them had to leave with just a few moment's notice, so they really didn't have time, necessarily, to take their medications, to get extra clothing or food. Some of them brought their dogs but didn't have dog food. So we have been working with local agencies to arrange all of these services for them. And we'll continue to be here for them as long as they need us.

COOPER: All right. April Brown with the Arizona Red Cross, thank you very much.

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