House fire leaves ETX family homeless - | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

House fire leaves ETX family homeless


A fire that burned an East Texas home to the ground Monday night was still smoldering Tuesday afternoon.

The fire broke out around 8 p.m. in the 1000 block of Britton Avenue in Tyler. At one point, firefighters said flames were as high as 150 feet in the air.

"The whole house was burnt up, Clothes and everything, it burned everything up," said homeowner Sam Smith Junior. 

This fire took Sam and Julie Smith's home.

"It wasn't long, it wasn't long. Whoo that blaze was up there," described Mr. Smith.

The place they had lived for more than 40 years is now nothing more than a pile of rubble. Their pickup truck is the only thing they were able to save from the fire and they said that is only because they were able to push it away from the flames. The keys to truck as well as all of their other valuables burned inside of their home.

Mrs. Smith said she had just laid down to rest, while her husband was still working outside in the backyard when the fire started.

"She was inside and she heard this popping sound and then she got up. Well, she had seen some smoke and that's the reason she rushed on out of there," said Mr Smith.

Both escaped the fire with just the clothes on their backs.  

"She need her shoes and needed her purse, belongings and things. I said let it go because it's taking too big a chance. I said just let it go, there's no point in you going back on in there," Mr. Smith said.

Hours after the initial spark, firefighters continued to fight flames.

"It's got several layers you know, shingles, tin, wood. It's being hard to put out," said Tyler Fire Chief, Tim Johnson.

After hours of fighting the fire, few, if any, items are salvageable.

"All I can do is hold myself together for myself and for my wife," Mr. Smith said.

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