Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Fire costs man with sickle cell his medicine

CLEARWATER — Smoke filled the second-floor apartment so quickly Tara Battle didn't have a chance to get her purse.

"We just ran out," she said. "My husband ran back up in the flames and grabbed my purse."

But Anthony Battle didn't have time to get the medicine that eases the pain caused by his sickle cell anemia.

On Tuesday, three days after the fire at their Sunset Point apartment building, Battle said, "My joints are aching. They're killing me."

To make matters worse, Battle said his doctor would not issue him a refill for his narcotic pain medication unless he came into the office or produced an official report on the fire.

Battle, who is temporarily staying at a Clearwater motel paid for by the Tampa Bay chapter of the American Red Cross, said he does not have $150 to pay for an office visit.

Battle was still in limbo Tuesday afternoon. While Clearwater Fire and Rescue officials announced the fire was caused by an electrical problem, Battle had not yet received a copy of the report to give to his doctor, he said.

Anthony Battle's health struggles were detailed in the St. Petersburg Times in September during Sickle Cell Anemia Awareness Month.

The genetic disease that mostly affects African-Americans is a serious disorder in which the body makes abnormally shaped red blood cells. The cells can form clumps and become stuck in blood vessels, blocking blood flow and causing pain.

The Battles and Tara Battle's two sons from a previous relationship, 16-year-old Lindsey Small and 12-year-old Trevyon Small, were told Tuesday would be the last night the Red Cross could pay for their lodging.

Anthony Battle said he had no idea where they would go after check-out.

"The car?" Battle wondered.

But later Tuesday, a Red Cross spokeswoman said the agency was working with the family to try to find them suitable housing and may assist with the family's first month of rent.

"We will make sure they're not going to be out on the streets, especially during the holidays," said Tampa Bay chapter spokeswoman Janet McGuire.

The Battles were able to salvage some photos of Tara Battle's deceased father and brother.

Beyond that, "nothing, nothing," could be saved, Anthony Battle said.

A debit card donated by the Red Cross to buy essentials has been spent, the Battles said.

And the fire, which broke out around 1:45 a.m. Saturday and left the building at 1170 Sunset Point uninhabitable, dealt the couple another blow.

Both Anthony and Tara Battle had been offered jobs at a Palm Harbor telemarketing company. They were scheduled to start Monday and fear now the offer may be rescinded.

"We can't even find the phone number to call because it's in the house," Tara Battle said.

Rita Farlow can be reached at or (727) 445-4157.

Fire costs man with sickle cell his medicine 11/23/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 23, 2010 9:30pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Pinellas construction licensing board needs to be fixed. But how?

    Local Government

    LARGO –– Everyone agrees that the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board needs to be reformed. But no one agrees on how to do it.

    Rodney Fischer, former executive director of the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board Rodney, at a February meeting. His management of the agency was criticized by an inspector general's report. [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]

  2. Sue Carlton: Job or family when a hurricane's coming — a very Florida conundrum


    It must seem as foreign to Northerners as shoveling snow is to those of us raised in the Sunshine State: The very-Florida conundrum of having to choose between work and family — between paycheck and personal safety — when a hurricane comes.

    A hurricane helps the rest of us acknowledge the police officers, paramedics, hospital personnel, public works employees and others who stay on the job despite the storm. 
  3. After Tampa concert, Arcade Fire members party, preach politics at Crowbar


    After waiting more than a decade for Arcade Fire’s first appearance in Tampa, fans didn’t have to wait long for their second.

    DJ Windows 98, a.k.a. singer Win Butler of Arcade Fire, performed at a "Disco Town Hall" at Crowbar following the band's concert at the USF Sun Dome on Sept. 22, 2017.
  4. Review: Arcade Fire open hearts, play with passion at the USF Sun Dome in Tampa


    Gloves off, hearts open and disco balls glittering, Arcade Fire scaled the stage for the first time ever in Tampa, pouncing and flailing and performing with all the passion that’s made them one of the world’s most celebrated rock bands this century.

    Arcade Fire performed at the USF Sun Dome in Tampa on Sept. 22, 2017.
  5. Lightning's Steven Stamkos looks close to top form in first game since November

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — The wait felt like forever for Lightning captain Steven Stamkos, having gone 10 months without playing in a game.

    A scramble in front of the Lightning goal has Matthew Peca, far left, and Erik Cernak, middle, helping out goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy during the third period of a 3-1 win against the Predators. Vasilevskiy, who made 29 saves, was “exceptional,” coach Jon Cooper says.