By Robert Anglen
The Cincinnati Enquirer
The fire sparked on a snowy night 34 years ago.
Carl Biery had no connection to the house or the people inside. But watching the fiery scene, he became aware that a rescue effort was under way. Not to save the house - that was up to firefighters. But to help the people find shelter, food, clothes.
That, the accountant decided, he could do.
Since 1969, Biery has been at the scene of floods, plane crashes and fires as a volunteer disaster relief worker for the Cincinnati Area American Red Cross. He was at the 1977 Beverly Hills Supper Club fire, where 165 died. And he worked in the morgue after the 1988 Carrollton, Ky., bus crash, helping parents identify the remains of children.
And he has done it all without pay.
"Any kind of disaster, we go. But approximately 90 percent of what we go to are fires," Biery said.
A relief-team leader, he shies away from praise, saying he works with great people.
Now 57, he's retired. But he recalls going to work and trying to stay awake after helping at a fire all night. And he still misses out on family outings and often rushes past home-cooked meals.
"The phone could beep right now and they'd be telling me to go to a fire," he said, adding that his wife understands. "We've raised three children, and they are all members of my disaster team."
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Schedule of local events
Updates on today's memorials across the country
Emotional impact of 9-11 blunts as world changes
PULFER: Still grieving? Blame the media
9-11 aftermath stays with Loveland man
How Greater Cincinnati marked the first anniversary
Profiles of area victims in the 2001 attacks
3-D graphic of plans for the World Trade Center site
Photos of the attacks on the World Trade Center
Photos of the attacks on the Pentagon
Photos of Flight 73
Special multimedia coverage from Gannett News Service
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Strong at first, volunteer spirit has waned
Here's how to get involved
Profiles of local volunteers:
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Dad impresses by going fishing
Arthritis can't keep her from job
Helping others helps heal
Math tutor gets lesson
When disaster hits, he responds
Mentors ease the teen years
Variety is the spice of giving
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Other voices on the lessons of 9/11
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