It was on the afternoon of Thursday, February 6, 2003, that Lisa Suber-Scott lunch time routine was interrupted. She rushed home.
It wasn’t that anything in particularly good was on the menu. This day she had a strong desire, an inner pull to go home and ask her husband to join with her to pray for the family. She was experiencing an urgency unlike anything she’d ever felt before.
“Normally I’d come home and read my bible, pray, eat and then take a nap until it’s time for me to go back to work. I didn’t know why, but all day while I was driving the bus I kept hearing when you go home have prayer with your husband. This never happened to me before. So when I got home I didn’t even take my coat off or give my husband a kiss. I said, “Ron, I need you to agree with me in prayer”, said Lisa, the 41 year old wife and mother of three. She didn’t know within the next twenty four hours they would need those prayers answered.
Lisa Suber-Scott, a part-time bus driver and her husband, Ronald Scott, a full-time bus driver with New Jersey Transit and their three children, Thomas, 15, Marlon,12 and Shekinah 6, resided at 132 Wilkinson Avenue. Although innocent, they suddenly became victims of that fire that took the lives of 2 beautiful innocent children and their mother. The fire was set by the angry boy-friend of one of the tenants who resided at the 6-family home where Lisa was also the superintendent.
“He should have went about the break-up situation another way. He didn’t even consider other families. Three lives were lost and they had nothing to do with it. I forgive him. He’s going through the system now and justice will be served”, said Lisa.
Lisa and her children have been members of the Macedonia Pentecostal Church in Jersey City for more than 5 years. Back in December 2002, a spiritual leader told Lisa to start having corporate prayer, a time of prayer and devotion with her family. Without any idea of what was to come or even why she was instructed to pray with her family, she did. Lisa didn’t have all of the answers, but soon realized that this time of family prayer was preparing her for what was ahead.
Lisa planned to bring the family together after choir rehersal later on that evening. The kids were a little tired and once everyone settled down they fell asleep. It wasn’t a coincedence that Lisa had this urge to pray for the protection of her family earlier that day. “I’m learning how to pay attention to my first thoughts, because I’m realizing that they are coming from the Lord”, said Lisa.
It was going on 10:00 pm when she went to check on the kids. Everything was okay, her children were sound asleep. She then went into the bathroom to take a shower and relax before her husband got home. He works the night shift. It was only minutes after she’d entered the bathroom that Thomas yelled “the house is on fire”. “Grab my baby”, Lisa screams. While Thomas runs to grab his little sister, Marlons jumps up anxiously and opens the front door. The stairs and the banister were already in flames. Lisa and Thomas both screamed, “close the door”. They knew that there was no way that they were going to get out that way.
The fire escape was located in the rear of the house and accessible through one of the bedroom windows. While Lisa and her children were making their way to the bedroom, she managed to reach into a closet and grab the kids coats and her pocketbook.
Thomas, tried to pull the fire escape down but it was locked. “Ma we have to run down the stairs, said Thomas. Lisa had to make a quick decision. “No we’re not. We’re jumping out the window”, she said. She had to get her family out of there and knew with God’s help she could.
“Seventeen years ago I was in a fire. I panicked and was a nervous wreck. But this time I was calm and didn’t have time to think about anything. I was just focused on getting my family out”, said Lisa. She told the kids they were going to climb down the locked fire escape as far as possible and then jump.
Two men ran to the back of the house where Lisa and the children were.They yelled for Lisa and the kids to jump. The children were afraid, yet brave. “I panicked”, said Marlon. “I knew we were going to get out and I was ready to jump”. Lisa grabbed Shekinah and threw her down first. And then she and her two sons climbed down one at a time and jumped.
A few days later Lisa’s sons Thomas and Marlon returned back to the second floor apartment on Wilkinson Avenue. They were still in a state of unbelief. But what they found when they got there was something one would have had to witness in order to believe.
So, I took a drive by the house. When I looked up into the window of the second floor apartment to my amazement there were pictures and medal awards still hanging on the wall just like they said.
Not only did the young men retrieve their video games and some money (bills) nothing was burned, “Our pictures are still hanging up and the walls are still white. My mothers’ papers and bills she had filled out earlier were still on the table. The couch was the same way we left it. The glass table wasn’t broke. The refrigerator was fine. The only thing that was a little messed up were the rugs because little drops from the ceiling fell. And it’s just like dots on the rug and no glass. But other than that our rooms were perfect. Nothing was burned or wet. My parents’ room was just frozen. Nothing was wrong with the door, you can even close it and shut it”, said Marlon.
The young men had no doubt that God helped them get out of the fire without a scratch. Sometimes young people think it’s corny to pray, but when Lisa shared that she wanted to start having family prayer they were ready, willing and able. “God didn’t let nothing happen to us because we listen to him and we are faithful”, said Marlon. “I’m just thankful to God for helping us and keeping us safe. Whenever we pray we always ask him to protect our home and I prayed that night before I went to sleep”, said Thomas.