On Aug. 3, 2011, just after midnight, our home was destroyed by fire. My wife, Marsha, was sewing in the adjacent bedroom in preparation for our youngest daughter’s wedding. She was resting on the bed, beginning to fall asleep while watching the late news.
The fire fell through the ceiling between the edge of the bed and the exterior wall. The bedspread caught fire and awakened her. Thank you, Jesus.
I was asleep in the bedroom across the hall. (The following day was a work day.)
She opened the door screaming: “Tommy, I need help!" We were in our pajamas. I jumped out of bed, standing behind her in the hall. The bedroom she was in was now fully engulfed in flames. I swear I saw the face of Satan in the flames and felt his breath. I said to her "Get out of the house!"
We do not remember leaving the house. (We credit Jesus for moving us out of harm's way.) The next thing we do remember is being in the backyard and opening the bedroom window to try to fight the fire with the garden hoses.
As I opened the window, it exploded from the heat, covering the right side of my body with glass. The only real injury was a small cut to my right hand. I had no shoes, shirt or pants - just my underwear. Thank you, Jesus.
Marsha was getting the kinks out of one of the hoses and was not harmed by the exploding window. However, as she attempted to fight the fire with one of the hoses, the flames were so hot they burned some of her hair. Jesus kept her safe.
Marsha and I both reentered the house to call 911. The smoke was thick and horrible, and we couldn't make the 15 feet to the phone, even on our hands and knees.
I went to a half-dozen neighbors trying to wake them up to call 911. I apologize to the neighbor who responded to a crazy man at her door at that hour of the morning - I know I scared her, but she called 911. How do you say, 'thank you'?
I ran back to the house and the flames were through the roof. The gas line had just exploded over the bedroom where Marsha had been sewing.
My wife was sitting on the transformer box in the front yard, and I just dropped down on the driveway. We watched as our home was being destroyed by fire, and there was nothing we could do.
Our neighbor across the street brought me a shirt, slippers and a pair of shorts. How do you say, 'thank you'?
The Zachary Fire Department and other area fire departments fought the hot August fire risking their lives and limbs. Fortunately, they where dressed in heavy fire fighting gear and carried breathing apparatus on their backs. Even still, some had to receive intravenous fluids to keep hydrated. How do you say, 'thank you'?
Sadly, our home was a total loss.
We also lost Cookie (our Pomeranian), Maria (our Chihuahua) and Miguel (our Blue Crown Conure parrot). They were a very special part of our lives.
We lived in our home for over 30 years where we raised our five children. Many of their wonderful friends were also a great part of that home. The joy and memories will be with us always.
Our children stepped in after the fire and took care of us when grief and confusion paralyzed us. How do you say, 'thank you'?
Neighbors, friends and people we have never met sent us their prayers, support, food, clothing, furniture, a storage facility and even an apartment. How do you say, 'thank you'?
A dear friend who helped us in every way possible - while unbeknownst to her - she was dying from a fast-paced, aggressive type of cancer...How do you ever say, 'thank you'?
Don, we thank you and your wonderful employees for building us our new home.
God says, 'I will bless those that bless thee.'
We pray for the Lord’s blessing upon all of you.
Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts, and may you have a blessed Thanksgiving.
Tom and Marsha Lynch