Fire victim remembered by foundation

Publication Date: Wednesday Apr 8, 1998

EAST PALO ALTO: Fire victim remembered by foundation

Education effort aimed at providing scholarships

As the one-year anniversary of the tragic Fordham Street house fire approaches, a new foundation has formed in memory of one of the fire victims.

Reaching Dreams Foundation was formed in memory of Anthony Taylor, 11, who, along with eight others, perished in the early morning fire on April 26, 1997. The foundation will hold an inaugural benefit dinner on April 26, the one-year anniversary of the fire.

The foundation is being started by Anthony's uncle, Cass Taylor, 29, of East Palo Alto. Anthony was one of five children who died in the fire.

The benefit dinner will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. April 26 at St. Elizabeth Seton School in Palo Alto, where the younger Taylor had been a student.

"I attended that school for eight years," Cass Taylor said, "so I decided to start this foundation."

The aim of the foundation, Taylor said, is contained in the foundation's name: To help children reach their dreams.

Taylor plans several ongoing efforts, including a mentoring program and an opportunities club, but one of the main efforts of the foundation will be the Anthony Taylor Scholarship Fund. "It will help students go to private schools," Taylor said, like St. Francis High School in Mountain View or Sacred Heart School in Atherton.

Funds from the benefit dinner will help establish the scholarship fund, Taylor said. He will also apply for grants from foundations for the scholarship fund.

The benefit dinner will also include an awards ceremony, including the presentation of the Chris Taylor Courage Award to members of the Menlo Park Fire Protection District, who fought the Fordham Street Fire and rescued three people from the burning house.

Cass Taylor said the award is named after Anthony Taylor's father, who died of lung cancer two weeks after the fire.

For reservations or more information about the benefit dinner, call the foundation at 428-8346.

The April 1997 fire started in the carport of the house at 2582 Fordham St. in East Palo Alto around 6 a.m., while 13 people inside the house were sleeping. Bolted-on anti-burglar bars over several windows prevented the people inside from escaping the smoke and flames. The fire was later found to be arson, although no one has ever been arrested for setting the fire.

--Don Kazak

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