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Family sees blessings after Christmas Eve house fire

NATCHEZ — Precious Cox knows she had someone looking out for her on Christmas Eve.

The shell of Precious Cox’s mother’s house is all that remains after a fire gutted the structure on Christmas Eve night. No one was in the house at the time of the fire. (Ben Hillyer / The Natchez Democrat)

The shell of Precious Cox’s mother’s house is all that remains after a fire gutted the structure on Christmas Eve night. No one was in the house at the time of the fire. (Ben Hillyer / The Natchez Democrat)

That’s the only way the Natchez resident can explain how her entire family, including her 61-year-old mother, was out of their house when it caught fire and burned last week.

“We could have lost the house and been having a funeral, too,” Cox said. “My mom doesn’t really go places a lot, but she was out of the house that night, thanks to the good Lord.”

Cox, who was living at her mother’s Green Acres Road house with her three children and brother, had just brought home some presents before getting a call from her employer asking her to come pick up a gift her boss had purchased for her.

Cox’s children and mother had gone to Gloster for the day to spend Christmas Eve with Cox’s sister.

Her brother had also left the house, going to Jackson for the day.

“I had just made it to my work when my brother called me from Jackson to tell me the police had just called him saying the house was on fire,” Cox said. “I told him that it wasn’t because I had just left the house.

“He kept telling me that’s what the police were saying, so I left work and drove back.”

The ride from Taco Bell on Seargent S. Prentiss Drive to Green Acres Road, Cox said, felt like it took an eternity.

“The whole time I was thinking to myself, ‘God just please don’t let it be our house,’” said Cox of the house her mother had lived in for 18 years. “I turned onto our street, and it was our house.”

The fire, which started in the back of the house in Cox’s mother’s bedroom, was likely caused by an oxygen tank that got too close to heat, Natchez Fire Chief Oliver Stewart said.

The fire spread to other portions of the house before Natchez Fire Department officials managed to contain the blaze.

What was left behind, Cox said, was a mixture of mostly melted and burned items scattered throughout the house.

“It’s pretty much that one side has a roof and the other doesn’t,” Cox said. “A lot of the stuff was lost.”

Discussing the situation with her sister a few days later, Cox said she realized just how lucky and blessed she and her family were that day.

“My mom stays at home for the most part, so she could have easily been in there,” Cox said. “She’s doing good right now by the sake of the good Lord.

“She’s always been a soldier, so she’s going to keep going no matter what.”

Cox said she’s been too busy attempting to tie up loose ends after the fire to even consider setting up a bank account for donations.

“I’m not going to turn down any blessings, but it’s just been hard to do all of that,” Cox said. “I’ve just been praying to God.”

Cox said her family is staying at her sister’s house until they can get back on their feet.

Anyone interested in helping the Cox family can call 601-334-5823.