ST. LOUIS – Tony Fisher and Arah Anderson moved into their south St. Louis home on Compton just five years ago, but on Wednesday morning, their fire alarm woke them up to their house in flames. They had only minutes to save themselves and 8 of their 10 children.
Tony and Arah are still coping with the event and asked close family friend Zenique Gardner-Perry to speak on their behalf.
“Tony tried to make an exit plan. He could not get down the stairs – either the front stairs or the back stairs – so they realized they had to jump from the balcony,” said Gardner-Perry. “Tony jumped down first. He jumped down and he asked Arah to throw him the babies – which she refused.”
Fisher jumped off their master bedroom balcony into an excessive amount of smoke from the fire. Eight of their 10 children, including one-year-old twins and five-year-old triplets, were present at the time. He and Arah worked together to get them down to safety.
The St. Louis Fire Department says their escape was a blessing. If anyone would have been sleeping on the lower level when the fire broke out they would not have made it out alive.
Fire Captain Garon Mosby says the cause of the fire is still undetermined but they do not suspect any foul play.
“Yesterday was really devastating. Just a lot of disbelief. A lot of trying to figure out how to console their children and bring solace to them and be peaceful. It was really stressful for them,” said Gardner-Perry.
However, the community immediately came to the family’s aid. Their hotel stay for the week has been paid for anonymously, and Bold Moves Worldwide has raised $1,000 for the family and plans to raise more.
“Of course, we can’t just necessarily rebuild what was taken away but we can help them rebuild what they’re about to have and we believe that’s going to be a remarkable future,” said Koran Bolden, CEO of Bold Moves Worldwide.
Meanwhile, friends of the family also created a GoFundMe page. As of Wednesday evening, they have raised $7,000, surpassing their $5,000 goal.