‘I’ve got a real family here;’ North Charlotte charter school helps staff member recover after house fire

UpROAR Leadership Academy staff member Robert Montieth moved into his new rental home on Friday.
The lead janitor at UpROAR Leadership Academy had lived in his Grier Heights home for 21 years before it burned down in March.
Published: Apr. 15, 2022 at 5:05 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - A North Charlotte charter school is raising money to help one of its employees who lost his home and a family member in a fire last month.

The Charlotte Fire Department responded to the fire on Maxwell Ariel Lane in the Grier Heights community on March 25 around 11:30 a.m. One person was taken to the hospital and later died from their injuries.

Charlotte Fire investigators say the cause of the fire was accidental.

Robert Montieth lived in the home for 21 years.

Montieth works as the lead janitorial supervisor at UpROAR Leadership Academy in North Charlotte - the very place he was when he got the devastating call.

His nephew lived with him and was seriously injured in the fire. He later passed away.

Montieth spoke to WBTV on Wednesday and shared some of his fondest memories of his nephew. They were only one year apart and spent several years fishing and doing other outdoor activities together. He says they were more like brothers and he’ll miss him terribly.

His sister lives right next door to where the home on Maxwell Ariel Lane once stood. He says they were all a tight-knit family and he made many great memories in his former home.

“We always would have cookouts and parties and stuff like that,” Montieth says. “I have a lot of good memories there.”

His colleagues at UpROAR Leadership Academy quickly set up a GoFundMe fundraiser to help with bills and other expenses.

The school’s director, Genesia Newsome, says UpROAR isn’t just a school, it’s a family.

“Here you have employees, you have the scholars, but ultimately we’re one big family and we try to do whatever we can to help each other take care of each other,” Newsome says.

In the last three weeks, they’ve collected nearly $1,200 to support Montieth.

“He literally has to start over, so with the food, the furniture, the clothes, and things of that nature, and then just having to start over with the electricity, the gas, the water,” Newsome says.

On Friday, Montieth received great news - the school paid his new move-in deposit in full, and banded together to help him move his furniture and other items into the new home.

“We were able to get him in today,” Newsome says. “Actually, as I speak we have some staff members that are moving him into his new place.”

Montieth says he’s extremely grateful for the school’s support, and is looking forward to this fresh start.

“Some people work for people for years and years and years, and [their] family will never stick with them as mine stuck with me,” he says.

Crisis Assistance Ministry paid Monteith’s first month’s rent, paid for the hotel he was previously staying in, and donated all of his furniture.

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