‘His heroism was not shocking’: Friend asks community’s help for man who lost everything in University Park fire

A man who lost his home in an apartment fire at University Park on Tuesday night is not sure what his next move will be, but he still has a smile on his face.

Two people were injured trying to escape the fire which left eight units destroyed and 12 people without a home.

Jarvis PETTYJOHN is one of the 12 people who lost almost everything he owns in this fire.

“Every day you have to wake up, knowing that this might be your last day inside. You might be out on the street. You might not even have enough money to eat with,” he said.

PETTYJOHN risked his own well-being when that fire started.

He ran around to as many apartments as he could, banging on people’s doors to alert them that they needed to get out as soon as possible. He even lost his own place that he shared with his nephew — who is hearing impaired.

“At first I just kind of stood there. I was frozen just like most people would. Then I just took it off and did what I had to do, even with the staples in my leg. It started bleeding and hurting, but I just kept going as fast as I could. I lost my voice with a lot of smoke and things like that,” he said.

After losing everything in that fire, PETTYJOHN said he has been staying at a hotel about 10 miles from the apartment complex. But he said if he does not get any help quickly, he only has enough money to stay for two more nights at the hotel.

PREVIOUS STORY: Right place, right time: Man helps tenants escape from fire that destroyed 8 apartments at University Park complex

But that may be changing as a friend of his launched a GoFundMe account to raise money for him to get back on his feet.

Lisa Hines said she and her family have built a friendship with PETTYJOHN over the last several months.

He considers himself a “Jack of all trades,” doing repairs and other work for the Hines and several other clients around the city.

“He just behaved so selflessly,” Hines said. “He is such a bright spirit. He is such a kind person. His heroism was not shocking to us.”

PETTYJOHN said he just tries to be there for people.

Now to see people be there for him, he said is touching.

“It means a lot because in this world, there are a lot of cruel people and they’re a lot of people who do not like to help people, but I am so grateful that people are donating and helping me because I really do need it at this time to help me get back on my feet as fast as I can,” PETTYJOHN said.

He said he is thankful for that help and that it’s truly a blessing.

If you would like to donate to help PETTYJOHN, click here for the GoFundMe.

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