Thirteen people are homeless after losing everything in an apartment fire about 1pm yesterday afternoon. Someone saw smoke pouring from the second story of an apartment house on West Broad Court in Frazier Homes. It only took firefighters a few minutes to put out the fire, but the damage was severe.
Investigators say the fire started in a bedroom, but they're not yet sure how.
Tomiko Mobley and her five children lived in one of the apartments. Today they are trying to put their lives back together with some help from the Mount Bethel Baptist Church on Julia Law Street.
This family has gone through so much in the last day that this kindness from complete strangers is the light at the end of a very dark tunnel.
"You would never expect it to happen to you but it did," said Tomiko.
Yesterday, she got a call at work telling her her house was on fire and her five children may still be upstairs. Luckily, her kids made it out okay.
"As far as furniture and little things, all that is gone," she said. "If not by smoke damage it's burnt to a crisp."
Now Tomiko says she has to be strong, not for herself, but her children who are just realizing that they have nothing left but each other. "You know kids, teenagers, popularity is everything to them," she said. "They're worried about their material possessions."
But thanks to the kindness of strangers, these children have nothing to be embarrassed about. The Mount Bethel Baptist Church has offered to help with clothes and other personal items.
"We saw that they had been burnt out and lost everything and we just wanted to help," said the church's Karonda Bussey.
Tomiko says yesterday, she thought her children were trapped in the building, and now knowing they're all okay makes getting through this catastrophe a lot easier.
"They've been with me since day one," she said. "I raised them by myself, you know, single parent. If something happened to any one of them, I don't see a reason for me to live actually."
Tomiko has been surprised with a lot of generosity from the community. Many have also contacted us wanting to know how to help Tomiko and her children, so that is some consolation.
We've also learned that the Housing Authority of Savannah has found a new apartment for the Mobleys.