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 THOUSAND OAKS, Calif., Nov. 3 /PRNewswire/ -- The GTE Foundation today announced it will donate $75,000 to the American Red Cross to help defray the enormous costs of providing assistance to victims of firestorms in Southern California.
 Local American Red Cross chapters are responding to brush and wild fires throughout Southern California, providing food, beverages and refuge to firestorm victims. Red Cross also is providing canteen service to firefighters and emergency workers.
 "Once again, the Red Cross is providing invaluable humanitarian assistance in a time of great need," said Mike Crawford, vice president- general manager for GTE West Area. "We hope this donation encourages other companies and individuals to come forward and financially support the outstanding efforts of this organization."
 Since the second wave of fires erupted Tuesday, the American Red Cross has opened five shelters in the Malibu/Calabasas area, providing meals, first aid, shelter and crisis counseling to people evacuated or burned out of their homes. Previously established shelters continue to operate in several other locations, including Newbury Park, Altadena, Orange, Canoga Park and Simi Valley.
 Ongoing Red Cross disaster assistance may include the means to replace basic items lost during the fires such as clothing, groceries, prescription medication and basic household furnishings.
 "It is the generosity of companies such as GTE that enables the American Red Cross to provide disaster assistance to the victims of these tragic fires," said Ron Farina, associate manager of the Red Cross Los Angeles Chapter.
 GTE Damage Update
 Tuesday's second wave of firestorms, in Malibu and Banning, caused significant damage to telephone poles and cables, but all GTE switching centers have survived intact and undamaged. A full assessment of damage is underway, though access to many areas is restricted because of danger from ongoing fires. Damage to poles and cables has cut service to approximately 1,800 GTE customers in the Malibu, Pacific Palisades and Topanga Canyon areas.
 The company is bringing coin phone trailers into the Malibu area to serve disaster victims. GTE is providing free local and toll service from the trailers, while AT&T, MCI and Sprint are providing free long distance calls, excluding international calling.
 GTE Offers Assistance To Fire Victims
 GTE California will transfer telephone service at no charge for customers forced to relocate due to the firestorms. The company will move one customer line to a new location at no charge for disaster victims. The offer also applies to Pacific Bell customers relocating within GTE territory. GTE also will transfer the service back to its original location for one year, again at no charge.
 If a service transfer is not required, the company will offer temporary remote call forwarding or Personal Secretary (voice mail) at no charge for one telephone number. The offer is available to disaster victims within GTE service territory.
 The company is waiving basic monthly charges for 90 days. Charges for call forwarding or Personal Secretary will be waived until October 1994. Customers would pay toll charges associated with these services, if any.
 For service changes, residential customers should call 800-483-4000; business customers should call 800-483-5000. Residential and business customers who prefer assistance in Spanish should call 800-482-7724.
 The GTE Foundation, one of the country's 20 largest corporate contributors to philanthropy, will give more than $21 million to education, scientific and charitable organizations on behalf of GTE and its subsidiaries in 1993.
 GTE California is based in Thousand Oaks and serves 3.1 million customers in 330 communities, mostly in Southern California.
 -0- 11/3/93
 /CONTACT: Larry Cox, Dan Smith or Mike Murray of GTE California, 800-227-5556, or 805-372-5870 (out of state); or Pamela Corante or Barbara Wilks of the American Red Cross, 213-739-5200/

CO: GTE California; American Red Cross ST: California IN: UTI SU:

NY-JB -- LA052 -- 0397 11/03/93 18:41 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Nov 3, 1993

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