Home Fire Relief – Winner, South Dakota

Red Cross assists families affected by Jan. 31 fire in Winner, S.D.

On Jan. 31, 2021, Lorelei Mendoza awoke to news her home of four years had been destroyed by a fire.

Lorelei was among 11 people displaced by a fire that broke out in the early morning hours at a five-plex in Winner, a small rural town located in south-central South Dakota. The American Red Cross provided disaster relief to the tenants.

Lorelei and her one-year-old son and two-year-old daughter were staying at a relative’s house when the fire broke out at the complex. When Lorelei learned of the fire, she went to assess the damage.

“(The fire) pretty much got out of hand, and there was pretty much nothing they could do until the fire department showed up and put it out,” she recalled.

Family photo

Lorelei said most of her belongings at her house were damaged by water used to put out the fire. The five-plex has been deemed a total loss, she said. Lorelei said her sister, who had moved into a unit adjacent to Lorelei’s just two days prior to the fire, was also displaced by the fire.

The item Lorelei misses most that was destroyed in the fire? “My home,” she said.

Lorelei said she’s grateful for the financial support she received from the Red Cross as she moves forward with trying to find new housing suitable for her and her children.

Story by Blair Emerson – Red Cross volunteer

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