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.
“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.
“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.”