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After Fuller Park Fire, Resident Credits The Red Cross For Getting Him And His Dogs Shelter; Says It 'Helped Me A Lot'

CHICAGO (CBS) -- For CBS 2's Day of Giving it's about helping the Red Cross, helping those in need.

CBS 2's Chris Tye reports it's what the holidays and Giving Tuesday are all about and CBS 2 is doing everything to help the Red Cross continue helping people every single day in our community.

On average, the Red Cross responds to 870 disasters across the Chicagoland area every single year, most of them home fires. Including one that raged through  seven homes in Fuller Park in September.

One resident said he doesn't know where he would be today without the quick actions of his dog and the Red Cross.

"This is Mister Rello. This dude is strong. Without him I would not be here."

And intuitive. And while some owners say that, Coy Freeman means it about his seven-year-old American Bulldog.

" It was the early morning of September 30. I was asleep on the couch and my dog Rello, he came and started waking me up erratically. He took his nose, he was throwing my arm up, jumping on top of me with his paws," Freeman said.

His house became house number seven. Seven homes engulfed on a dry night on the 4900 Block of South Princeton in Fuller Park.

"Before I even got to the door, I heard the house crackling," he said.

Heard. Not saw. Because the man, whose a licensed dog breeder, the occupant of house number seven and Rello's dad is also visually impaired.

"I couldn't see it, but I could feel it," Freeman said. "The coffee pot was melted down to a cup holder. I can hear the fire constantly cooking. I can hear the sirens and the everything. I tell you, it seems as if the fire is alive, it's like it has a life of his own."

That feeling followed by the central question of "What now"?

"How you're going to relocate? Where you going to go when you've lost everything, including my wallet," he wondered.

Amidst the fire trucks, news vans and smoke, a friendly voice emerged.

"I was sitting on that porch scratching my head wondering where I was going to go, what I was going to do, they came in and they helped me."

They are the American Red Cross.

"That really helped me and my dogs make it for the next week until we were able to find somewhere else to go. In that instant, the Red Cross came in and helped me a lot and I thank them so much."

Just imagine losing everything. Coy said the Red Cross gave him money for a hotel room and to feed his dogs for a few days to get him back on his feet.


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