The day started much like any other for Linda Mosley. She had worked through her morning routine when she decided to set some chicken out to thaw. Then, she got a call from her daughter asking if she wanted to go with her to visit her sister who lives nearby. That was when her life took a sharp turn away from the normal routine.
It was that morning, July 15, that Mosley’s home was severely damaged by fire. Had it not been for the call from her daughter, it’s possible Mosley would have been in the house when the fire broke out.
“I got dressed, went to pick up my daughter on Highway 78 and then we went up to my sister’s house on Oak Street. It was maybe 10 to 15 minutes. It all happened so fast,” she said.
It was her daughter’s husband, Ed Isbell, an employee with Leeds Water Works, who happened to be driving by Mosley’s home on Dunnavant Road when he noticed smoke rising from the roof. He called the fire department not knowing that Mosley was not in the house.
Upon arrival, the fire department began working to get into the house. Mosley arrived shortly after to let them know she was safe, but that two very precious pets were inside.
“When I got home, everything was piled in smoke. I went into hysterics because my two Chihuahuas were inside,” she said.
That was when Mosley said she began to see that God was working for her even in a time of tragedy. When firefighters got in the house, they found one of the dogs on the couch wrapped in a curtain.
“The older, and bigger built, of the dogs took the younger one and put him on the couch, and wrapped him up. The oldest one got on top of the younger one and was killed. That’s how I know God was playing a part in this,” she said.
As she watched the firefighters work to save her home, a visitor provided additional comfort to Mosley. A minister from the New Jerusalem Church, which sits just across the street, walked over with a message.
“He told me ‘Satan wanted to take you home, but God wouldn’t let him,’” she said.
With time, firefighters were able to extinguish the flames. It was later determined the fire was ignited through the electrical system.
“We had lived in this house since 1990. My family grew up there. It was devastating to see so much damage,” Mosley said.
The devastated feeling soon turned into something different altogether. As she assessed the situation, she soon realized that she wasn’t facing the situation alone.
“This has brought my family closer together. After the fire, we had seven adults – all of whom are on heart medication – as well as several of my granddaughters here in the house working to clean things up. We have seen miracles right here and it is clear that God moves in all situations,” she said.
Within 12 hours of the fire, Mosley said she had people calling her to offer their help, services and with donations. Her daughter, Kayla Brock, works at REM Cleaners who offered to clean any of the clothes that were salvaged from the fire. Larry Cox is looking for an air conditioning unit to replace the one that was destroyed. Lighthouse Baptist Church and Community Church of God each donated items and groceries. Helen Stokes gave Mosley a gift card while Rev. Josh Taylor of Oneonta Worship Center donated money. A neighbor, Charlie Boone, has offered to help with plumbing and the American Legion has provided sheetrock and lumber to replace some of the walls that were burned and rafters that will need replaced. Many others, including her own church family at Lighthouse on the Hill Church, have stepped up to offer some form of help. She’s even had people donate furniture, a dinette set and kitchen supplies.
“It’s just so comforting to know that even when times are hard, people still have big hearts,” Mosley said.
While the task of rebuilding her home is a daunting one, Mosley is looking at it as an opportunity.
“I can’t concentrate on the negative because I wouldn’t survive. We are going to use this as an opportunity to rebuild the house the way I want it. This is not sad to me – this is God at work and my family is working together and getting closer through this process,” she said.
For now, Mosley is living with her daughter while work continues at the home. She looks forward to the day she returns to her own home on Dunnavant Road.
“I know that when people come to my door Jesus will be opening it for them. When everything is back to normal and I’m back at home I will cook a big meal for all of those who helped me and prayed for me. I really want to show them how much I appreciate them,” Mosley said.
Mosley is the mother to three children, Rhonda Bailey, Kenneth Bailey Jr., and Scott Bailey. She has six grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. And, of course, she still is the loving guardian to Sparky, the Chihuahua that survived the fire. It is her family – and her faith – that helps her move forward each day.
“I am blessed. Three weeks after the fire and things are coming together,” she said. “God is playing a role in my life and He is moving for us all even in the bad times.”