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Father of two tells story of surviving Fairfax apartment fire over the weekend

Published: Dec. 22, 2020 at 6:12 PM CST
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - A quick glance at the state of the six-unit apartment building in Fairfax, where a fire killed one and displaced several others, shows how bad the blaze was.

Everyone was able to make it to safety except for 43-year-old Ronald Weston, who died at the scene. Jesse Fry, one of the tenants of the building, lived upstairs with his two kids, they were in bed when the fire broke out.

“I was just about to fall asleep, I heard someone beating on my door. I knew it had to be something because nobody comes and knocks on the door like that,” Fry said.

Fry opened his apartment door to find someone from the Sheriff’s office knocking.

“He just said there’s a fire in the building get out,” Fry said.

At first, Fry couldn’t see the smoke so he said he tried to help a neighbor out who was still inside his apartment.

“I said let’s see if we can see him or not, he opened the door and smoke just came billowing out,” Fry said.

Fry’s son had already made it outside, but his daughter who has autism was still upstairs.

“I grabbed her coat, covered her face, and, by that time, smoke was already starting to come up through the hallway,” Fry said.

His family escaped the fire but they could not escape the horror before their eyes.

“Where I moved my vehicle to, I got blocked in so I basically had to sit there watch my house and everything I own burn down,” Fry said.

It was a home he had worked hard for.

“When I moved to Fairfax, I came there from being homeless. I was staying in hotels for about nine months,” Fry said. “This was the first Christmas that things were finally coming together where I was going to have a good solid Christmas and that night rocked me. To watch it all burn back down and I knew I was going right back to where I was.”

Without a home once more, Fry said his immediate needs have been met every step of the way, thanks to support from the community.

“It’s nice to get a little faith back in people. I know I’m really appreciative for it,” Fry said.

His goal now is to find a permanent home once more.

”That’s the hard thing that we’re fighting for,” Fry said.

There is a GoFundMe page that is raising money to help all of the victims as well as a Facebook page that’s helping Fry’s family. People are also dropping off physical items which will be distributed to those who need them. They’re being collected during business hours at A-Tech in Cedar Rapids, located at 9440 Atlantic Drive SW #3.

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