The Southside Baptist Church in Fulton is collecting clothing and household items for Linda Douglas, a disabled Callaway County woman with four children whose home north of Fulton at 6717 County Road 116 was destroyed by fire Thursday night.
"I lost everything except my children, pets and my van," Douglas said. "I even lost my glasses."
Douglas is the mother of a 13-year-old son and 10-year-old triplets - two girls and a boy.
Friends Regina Brown and April Backer are helping Douglas deal with the loss of her home near Calwood.
Douglas said her son had gone to his bedroom in their doublewide mobile home about 9:15 p.m. Thursday and noticed a shed near the house was on fire.
"I called the fire district immediately and got my four kids and pets out of the house," Douglas said.
When volunteer firefighters from the Central Fire Protection District arrived a few minutes after Douglas called, the fire had spread from the shed to the house. Firemen went inside the house to battle the blaze but had to leave when the ceiling and roof of the house collapsed. Firemen made it out of the structure uninjured and then fought the fire from the outside. But the structure was fully engulfed and difficult to control. The North Callaway Fire Protection District sent a tanker truck to help fight the fire and to provide support.
Volunteer Fire Captain Ronnie Huff said the structure was a total loss. "Only about half of the outside walls remained. All of the interior was destroyed. The roof and ceiling fell in. None of the firemen was injured during the entire incident," Huff said.
"Firemen told me they were sure the fire was caused by an electrical failure in the shed. We had a light out there," Douglas said.
"Things aren't going well with me right now," Douglas said. "I was trying to get a disability because of my injuries and then this happened." She's divorced and currently jobless because she was injured while working at Fulton State Hospital.
"I am lucky my son spotted the fire in the shed. I shudder to think what might have happened if we had all been in bed when the fire started," Douglas said.
Douglas moved her van away from the house and waited in it while watching her home erupt into a huge fire that could be seen miles away.
Karen Gruber of the Southside Baptist Church said the church will allow Douglas and her family to use the church's vacant house near the church until she is able to get resettled. The church at 501 S. Business 54 in Fulton also is acting as a collection point for donations of clothing and household items.
"If no one is at the church when people come to make donations, just leave the items on the north porch of the church. We will make sure they are collected on a regular basis," Gruber said.
Douglas said she appreciates the help from the Baptist Church. The Red Cross also is helping her along with SERVE, which is providing some food.
All four of Douglass's children - her 13-year-old son and her 10-year-old triplets - attend the Southside Baptist Church on a regular basis.
"My son was scheduled to leave soon on a mission with the church," Douglas said.