Anthony Williams left his rented home in York on Marvin Circle early Thursday to work at double shift at Burger King.
Williams is a shift leader. He has worked at Burger King stores in Rock Hill and York for nine years.
“I have eight kids,” Williams said. “I have to provide.”
By mid-afternoon, Williams was pulled from the kitchen because of a family emergency. His house had burned.
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The children and his wife, Crystal, and his wife’s sister, all were able to get out safely, but the fire and smoke damaged almost all their clothing, Williams said. Other personal items were lost, too, and the family now has no permanent place to live.
“We are in a motel, and at least we are together and safe,” Williams said.
The American Red Cross is helping the family, whose home right now is two rooms at a nearby motel.
The children include boys ages 10, 8, 7 and 5. The girls are ages 11 and 4, and the youngest two are twins who just turned 2.
What matters most is that no one was hurt, Williams said.
“But we have to figure out where to go now,” Williams said. “My kids, they lost most of their clothes.”
Angel Lynn, Williams’ sister-in-law who stays with the family, said the children inside at the time the fire was found Thursday were rushed outside by her sister, and they called 911.
York firefighters put out the fire, then called the American Red Cross to assist the family, said Brian Rose of the York Fire Department.
The fire at 601 Marvin Circle started around 3:20 p.m. Thursday in a wall outlet in a bedroom, Rose said. It spread to some of the room’s contents before firefighters were able to put out the fire, Rose said.
Red Cross officials helping the family with the immediate needs of the adults and children, said Aliza Gevirtz, disaster program manager for the Northern South Carolina chapter based in Rock Hill.
Because the fire was electrical, repairs must be made before the family can move back in.
Figuring out where to live, and putting clothes on eight children, is the family’s priority. All the diapers for the youngest children, and clothing for the school-aged children, are not salvageable, the family said.
“We lost the clothes, the house, we have nowhere to stay,” Angel Lynn said.
Anthony Williams said he did what he had to Friday to make sure his kids have clothing, a home and safety.
He put on about the only clothes he has left after the fire – his uniform – and went to work in the kitchen at Burger King in York.