BOSTON (CBS) — When a fire sweeps through a home, it is a nightmare. During a pandemic, it can be even worse.

A rash of recent fires in the area has left dozens of people without a roof over their heads. These days, social distancing means the American Red Cross must help families in a less direct way.

“Any time you go through a disaster like a home fire it’s usually the worst day of your life,” said Jeff Hall of the American Red Cross of Massachusetts. “We’re setting up virtual conferencing with them, either via video such as this like FaceTime, or on the phone and we’re helping them virtually now.”

“Our situation right now across the country makes it just that much more difficult. People are nervous about going to new places,” Hall continued.

A fire this past week on Lowell Street in Lawrence is only one of many recent examples.

“Unfortunately, every fire is disastrous to people who live here. Those second and third floors are trashed,” said Lawrence Fire Chief Brian Moriarty. “They have nothing. That’s the hard part. It’s disastrous. As it is we’ve called the Red Cross, and they’ll try to set people up but it’s just another complication during this terrible time.”

Even during the pandemic, the mission of the Red Cross remains the same: providing relief to disaster victims.

“It is different and people are feeling that effect. We have mental health counseling that’s available to fire victims to try to help them get through this and talk them through ways to minimize the stress but it’s certainly a stressful time,” Hall said.

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