BALTIMORE (WJZ) — She received national attention and even support from the president. Toya Graham was caught physically removing her teenage son from participating in the Baltimore unrest in April 2015. Now, she faces a new battle, one that could leave her family of six homeless.
Graham is no stranger to fighting battles, most notably, the one involving her 17-year-old son, Michael Singleton, more than a year ago.
In the midst of the unrest near Mondawmin Mall after the death of Freddie Gray, Toya spotted her then-16-year-old son and forced him out of the chaos between Baltimore police and dozens of teens. This time around, Toya’s battle is finding a place for her and her family to live.
The kitchen to the home where Toya and her family of six have lived since April caught fire Saturday afternoon while her son, Michael, who is now home from Job Corps, was cooking.
Michael says he was warming up a pot of cooking oil when he left for just a few minutes to go to the bathroom just off the kitchen. When he returned… “The pot is smoking, it was like smoking, so I went to go reach for it and then it burst out into flames,” Michael said.
Michael says he first alerted the neighbors that there was a fire.
“My sister was actually coming through the door. So I was telling her, ‘It’s a fire right now,'” he said.
“My daughter started calling me on Face Time and I can see her actually coming into the house and she was screaming, ‘Ma, your house is on fire, your house is on fire,'” Toya Graham said.
Toya says she came home to find no one was hurt, but now the family can’t stay in their home.
After four days staying in a hotel provided by the Red Cross, those funds are running out, and this time, Graham says she needs help.
“It’s a lot to have to put your personal out there for the world to see,” she said.
With no electricity to the home and no insurance, Toya says she wonders if her landlord, who recently renovated the kitchen, will kick her and her family out.
“So if he tells me, ‘Ms. Graham, I need you to leave my premises,’ I don’t know what we’re going to do,” she said.
Toya and her family have set up a GoFundMe page to help with housing and the loss of food and household items during the fire. For more info, CLICK HERE.