Youth Counselor Wiped Out and Left Homeless by 101st Street Fire; ‘Reaching Out to My Community for Help’

Anthony Trotter.

By Carol Tannenhauser

Last week, a three-alarm fire brought 138 firefighters and EMS personnel to 241 West 101st Street, near Broadway. Seven people were injured. Anthony Trotter, a 26-year-old recent college graduate and case manager for at-risk youth at a nonprofit, called the fire in.

241 West 101st Street.

“I live on the seventh floor, which is the top,” Anthony told WSR. “I was answering emails from my job. I smelled smoke and my cat was definitely on alert. I saw smoke rising past my window. I ran into the hallway and realized it was coming from beneath me. I heard someone scream for help. I made the 911 call once I went down and confirmed the apartment, which was on the same line as mine on the fifth floor. I started assisting people while on the phone with FDNY. Once I realized I didn’t have my keys and my cat was upstairs, I tried to go back up, but was unable due to the heavy black smoke.”

To release the smoke, firefighters chopped through the roof of the building — and the ceiling of Anthony’s apartment. They saved the cat, but nothing else. Smoke, water and axes destroyed everything material.

After the fire.

“I have no clothing, no personal belongings, besides my phone,” Anthony said. “I have some family in New York City, but they’re in no position to assist me while I go through this.” He explained that he grew up on 105th Street and Columbus Avenue, but spent much of his teens in foster care. “I was able to go to CUNY for sports and I graduated,” he said. “My upbringing is exactly why I work in the field I work in today.”

Anthony has been staying in a hotel provided by the Red Cross since the fire, but time runs out on Monday. He does not have renter’s insurance. His landlord said he will repair the apartment, but gave no timeline for when he expects to begin. “I don’t know where I will go after Monday,” Anthony said. In desperation, he started a GoFundMe account and announced it in a comment to WSR’s original account of the fire. As of Monday morning, it had raised $470 out of the $15,000 goal.

“I am reaching out to my community to ask for help in any way possible,” Anthony wrote. “The funds I raise will assist me with obtaining housing, clothing, shoes, furniture, bedding, kitchenware, etc. In this uncertain time, I know many people are facing their own hardships and I am extremely grateful for any amount you are able to give.”

If you would like to help, here is the link to Anthony’s GoFundMe.

Update: In just five hours, Anthony surpassed his goal of $15,000. “It’s amazing!” he wrote. “I would like to thank everyone that supported it, and those who are continuing to support it. The assistance I received let me know good things come to those who are kind hearted. May everyone be blessed.”

NEWS | 30 comments | permalink
    1. Parker says:


    2. NYYgirl says:

      Done as well

    3. tailfins says:

      Donated as well. Anthony – best of luck you and your cat.

    4. Joan says:

      Done! Best of luck to you.

    5. kbcinnyc says:

      Done. Thank you West Side Rag for posting this. Anthony — hope you are safe and that this GoFundMe page provides some support.

    6. Fellow renter says:

      Done! Great to see folks helping out. Hope this young man finds a neighbor – or maybe an out of town Rag reader – with a spare couch or room to be based in while he gets stuff back together. And here’s to having enough salary for renters insurance soon. Bless him in his work.

    7. Emma says:

      So sorry you had to go through that Anthony
      hope my contribution helps you get back on your feet

    8. Ingrid Wright says:

      We will have some clothing for you thst I have asked my son and husband to put together. How can I get this to you ?

    9. carolyn Benbow says:

      I may have a bed for Anthony, and some almost new mens clothes. How can I get in touch with him?

    10. Anthony Trotter says:

      Thank you to everyone! If anyone wants to get in contact

    11. Lesley says:

      Best of luck, Anthony, seems you’re well on your way to you goal! Thank you for your work, I’ve done this as well, and it’s rewarding. Happy you have your cat!

    12. Uwsmom says:

      Anthony you represent everything we hope for from our youth.

    13. Sylvia says:

      I was once a victim of a fire and I understand the devastation and the loss of a place to live. I did not get my apartment fixed for 4 months – and that was in regular times.

    14. Karen Burnes says:

      Donated… and thank you Anthony, so very much for your fine work. I’m so sorry you’ve gone through this. I may have a friend with an extra room up on 107th and Broadway.. if that’s of interest, I’ll contact you if it’s free.
      All the very best!

    15. Stephanie Jutt says:


    16. Ruth Bonnet says:

      The very best of luck to you. So glad they saved the cat at least (no sarcasm – I really meant it). Looks like your GoFundMe has worked and hopefully you can find somewhere to park yourself until the apartment becomes habitable again.

    17. Christine Curry says:

      I have blankets, towels pillows, a dresser and pots and pans. Can that be of help?

    18. vicki r. brower says:

      Please let us know how and where you are. All the best. So sorry you are going through this. Take care of yrself

    19. Marilyn J Taylor says:

      Way to go, West Side Rag!

    20. EricaC says:

      I am so sorry – and so glad that many people are helping. When you get settled again, please get some renters’ insurance! It can really save you in times like this. (My parents suffered a similar fire, without insurance, when they were your age, and pounded the importance if renters insurance into me from a young age.)

      • lynn says:

        I agree! For 20 years I didn’t have renters insurance and I nearly lost everything when a pipe burst and flooded my apartment. When I moved to the UWS I discovered .

        This isn’t an advertisement, I was just so happy to find insurance with a selection of rates I could afford, plus the app is easy to use, and they also give back to the community. 🙂

        “In the Lemonade model, policyholders choose a Giveback cause when they sign up for insurance. … “In just under three years, the Lemonade community has given back almost one million dollars, simply by choosing a cause they support when getting their insurance policy.”

    21. Dee says:

      What furniture or kitchen items do you need?

      Additionally how old is your cat? I might have a few cat items for you. Let me know.

      Further do you have a place to live? I might have a short term solution.

    22. Leesa says:


      Anthony, I hope you find housing. I can imagine how traumatic this has been. I’m so glad your kitty was saved.

      I hope the West Side Rag lets us know if there’s another GoFunMe for the other building tenants.

      To be displaced by a fire and lose everything is horrific. To go through this in the time of COVID is catastrophic.

    23. Emily says:

      Donated! Best of luck…thank you for all that you do working in your field. I know it is not easy! And lots of love to your kitty 🙂

    24. Anonymous says:

      Good Luck!!