CAYCE, SC (WIS) - A 104-year-old Cayce woman is alive after a blaze enveloped her home Tuesday.
Ms. Willia Dean Anderson has lived in her Lee Street home since the 1970's when she retired from her job and moved to South Carolina. She's well-known by her neighbors and her community for opening her home to many over the years.
"My mom was a foster mom, so she's had over 20-25 kids she's fostered in this community at one point of transition in their life. So there's been multiple families that have gone through here that have started through here. And it's a loss to see it like this," Anderson's son, Andre Anderson said. "It hurts."
Andre was one of those kids Anderson took in. He says she adopted him, and she's the only mom he's ever known.
"It's hard to grasp the emotional loss," Andre said. "We can all say it's physical and this can be rebuilt and these things can be replaced, but the attachment we have, me and my brothers, my Mom, my sisters, all my nieces, my cousins."
On Tuesday, Anderson's home went up in flames. Her grandson, Andre Anderson's nephew, was there and carried her out of the house to safety.
While the family begins to pick up the pieces of what's left, they realize the most important result of everyone's actions was the preservation of life.
"Hopefully we can get everything wrapped up and just swing her right back into motion. She's been asking to come back. " Anderson said.
The Cayce Department of Public Safety and West Columbia Fire Department both responded to the fire. Cayce Department of Public Safety Captain Thomas Steinbring says that the mutual aid response was crucial.
"That partnership and that cohesiveness of being able to put two different elements on the ground to combat this type of situation is instrumental in what saved that residence."
Ms. Anderson's family has set up a GoFundMe page to help with rebuilding expenses. According to the page, due to issues with the age of the insurance policy, the family will have to pay out of pocket. Anderson has had the same policy for almost 50 years.