AUBURN, Ga--It was the place where she grew up. The home in which she took her first steps, and watched her children take theirs. But Saturday night, that cherished home turned into a two story inferno, and Angel Chancey's grandmother did not survive it.
"She was already sick, and she was ready to go home," Chancey said of her grandmother. "I believe God took her home, that she's in a better place, and that's why it happened the way it did."
Saturday night, 67-year-old Mindy Heard died in a house fire that rendered her Auburn home a total loss. Her son-in-law was pulled from the home as it burned, and escaped without major injuries. Investigators are still trying to determine the cause of the fire.
Across the street Sunday morning, there was an empty pew at Woods Grove Baptist Church. Her pastor Chris Gaddis is trying to help the family through the emotional and procedural parts of the grieving process.
"Her space on the pew [and her role in the church] can never be filled by anyone," Gaddis said. "But we'll lean on the Lord to help us get through it as a church."
The home was uninsured, and the family gratefully accepted a burial plot donated by Gaddis' church. Now they will try to start cleaning up the charred remains of so many memories.
"I'd come in the front door and she'd be sitting there in her rocking chair and she'd perk up and say, 'Hey baby!" Chancey remembered. "My memories, my children's memories, everything was in that house. "
Heard's church plans to set up an account to help the family. Those wishing to help can call (678) 542-9695 to reach the church. Or to donate funds directly:
The Heard Family Fund, c/o Gwinnett Federal Credit Union, 175 North Clayton Street, Lawrenceville, GA 30046
Earlier version of the story posted below:
AUBURN, Ga--Gwinnett County firefighters responded quickly to a house fire in the 1900 block of Flowery Branch Road around 8 p.m. Saturday evening. They arrived in time to rescue one of the home's occupants.
The male victim was transported to Gwinnett Medical Center with serious injuries.
Firefighters re-entered the home and pulled an elderly woman from a bedroom. The victim, Mindy Heard, 67, was pronounced dead at the scene.
The cause of death is still under investigation. Fire investigators are working to determine what caused the fire. Stay tuned to 11 Alive News for further updates.