Local woman filled with blessings despite tragedy
Published 1:04 am Thursday, November 26, 2015
By Megan Ashley Fink
The Natchez Democrat
NATCHEZ — One Natchez woman is thankful today for more than just turkey.
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Lori Lei Spencer, owner of Lori Lei’s Full Service Salon, lost her house and business to a fire early Friday morning. She woke up just in time to escape the flames.
Since then, Spencer said she has been shown an outpouring of support and generosity from her community.
“My God is an almighty God, and he saved me and loves me, and is still taking care of me through everyone else,” Spencer said.
Spencer, an Indianola native, had been operating and living on Wilderness Way in Natchez for three years. She has lived in Natchez since the 1990s. Her father built the house and salon himself from wood salvaged from another house.
Spencer said she believes a new electric heater purchased five days before had caused the fire. The heater was on the floor of her bathroom, adjacent to where she was sleeping when the fire started.
Spencer awoke to the sound of crackling flames around 3 a.m. on Friday and saw the wall at the foot of her bed already in flames. She escaped through the interior of the burning house and out her front door.
“A few more minutes and I wouldn’t have been able to get out that door,” Spencer said.
Spencer said she lost almost everything she owned, but has since been blessed by the generosity of her friends and neighbors.
“I ran out of the house in a T-shirt and underwear with my cell phone, barefooted. That’s it,” Spencer said. “By 9:30 that morning, I had three large black bags of clothes brought to me.”
Spencer said the support of her community has been constant and growing since the fire.
“The outpouring has just been unbelievable,” she said.
Spencer said members of her church, Pine Ridge Presbyterian, her coworkers, and regulars from her salon have offered her help around her property, a place to stay, and are already helping her get back in business.
“My friends are concentrating on raising money to get a building to get my beauty shop going,” Spencer said.
Her friends have set up a fundraising page to rebuild the salon at gofundme.com/dhbex4wk.
Spencer said even strangers have reached out to her, including one woman who downloaded one of her family photos from Facebook and sent it to her in a frame. “She took the time and she thought about what I really needed. She didn’t spend a lot of money or anything, but it means a lot to me,” Spencer said.
Spencer returned to her other job at Merit Health Monday, where she operates the switchboard.
“I never thought I’d be thankful for a Monday at work,” Spencer said. “People were shocked to see me at work. God got me out without a scratch on my head. I’m going to honor him by going to work and earning my paycheck and let him worry about the details.”