Machelle Lea LaHaye and Thomas Mosley were seriously burned in a grease fire earlier this month. A fundraiser to defray medical expenses for the Ellsworth couple has raised more than $13,000

Community rallies for burn victims

ELLSWORTH — Condolences and aid are pouring in for an Ellsworth couple who suffered extensive third-degree burns in a grease fire on June 16.

Machelle Lea LaHaye and Thomas Mosley were hospitalized after the fire broke out at their home on the Mariaville Road, according to a post on Facebook and reports from friends.

The two were transferred to a burn recovery center in Portland, where Mosley continues to undergo treatment.

LaHaye has reportedly been released but is still being monitored in Portland, said Jo Cooper, director of Friends in Action, where LaHaye works as fitness director.

“They’re very special people,” said Cooper. “It’s really painful to see something like this happen to someone so kind.”

Cooper said she has been in regular contact with LaHaye, who expects to return to work in mid-July. Mosley, who is self-employed, will likely be out of work longer, said Cooper, because of the extent of his injuries.

“He’s not going to be able to work for a long time,” said Cooper. “The medical expenses are the first concern.”

According to his Facebook page, Mosley graduated from Mount Desert Island High School and runs a carpentry and handyman company, Mosley Builders. LaHaye is originally from Jonesboro and is a well-known yoga teacher in the area, including teaching classes at the Moore Community Center through Friends in Action.

“Even though I’m a few decades away from being considered a senior, I attend her senior yoga classes as often as possible and love to see the connection she has with the yoga students,” said LaHaye’s friend Abby Morrow. “She has inspired people who have never done yoga to give it a try, thanks to her infectious enthusiasm and supportive style.”

More than 260 well-wishers had donated to a Facebook fundraiser to defray the couple’s medical expenses as of Tuesday afternoon. The campaign had pulled in more than $13,000, and several thousand dollars had also been raised via Friends in Action, Cooper said.

Tributes came in for the couple from friends around the region.

“Machelle is the most open-hearted individual I know and has a way of making people feel like they matter and are loved,” said Europa Hagarman, one of the campaign’s organizers.

“Machelle gives from her heart, which jumpstarts my desire to do the same,” said Mary Morrow. “She is a blessing to our community.”

Cooper said the accident had been a “freaky thing, but I guess anything like this is.” She noted that older adults with limited mobility are particularly at risk in incidents like these.

“Fire is such a frightening thing,” Cooper said. “More often than not this is how older adults die, because it happens so quickly.”

Cooper continued: “It’s hard to come up with the right words. Machelle has been such a strength and support for so many people here who have been through a lot of adversity in their own lives.”

“We are all so grateful to everyone who has reached out to help them while they are in need,” said Hagarman.

To donate, visit or call Friends in Action at 664-6016.

Kate Cough

Kate Cough

Kate covers the city of Ellsworth, including the Ellsworth School Department and the city police beat, as well as the towns of Amherst, Aurora, Eastbrook, Great Pond, Mariaville, Osborn, Otis and Waltham. She lives in Southwest Harbor and welcomes story tips and ideas. She can be reached at [email protected]
Kate Cough

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