Family works to put life together after home destroyed in fire

The Smith family lived in their home for the past 30 years.
The Smith family lived in their home for the past 30 years.
The Red Cross, Wal-Mart, and strangers donated money to help the family get back on their feet.
The Red Cross, Wal-Mart, and strangers donated money to help the family get back on their feet.

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - One family is trying to rebuild after losing everything in an early morning fire.

The Smith family's home in Olive Branch burned down early Thursday morning.

The Red Cross gave the family money to buy necessities. When Russell, Debbie, and Scott Smith got to Wal-Mart in Cape Girardeau, the store manager gave them a $100 gift card, and strangers donated money and clothing to help the family get back on their feet.

"I was almost asleep and I could smell smoke," said Scott Smith.

"He came into the bedroom and woke me up and said mom, get up, the house is on fire," said Debbie Smith.

"Just as we got out the front door, the whole roof caved in after us," said Russell Smith.

A fire can take away everything in just a matter of moments.

"Ain't got nothing now but a pile of rubble," said Russell.

"It's gone, you can't never replace it," said Debbie.

"We lost everything," said Russell.

The Smith family lived in their same home for the past 30 years. Currently, Russell and Debbie, their son Scott, his girlfriend, and their two children lived there. Scott Smith says he was glad his girlfriend and kids were out of the home at the time of the fire.

At the time, it seemed like losing everything wasn't possible.

"He said we can get you a pair of shoes, he said don't worry about it, let's get out of here," said Debbie.

"We were trying to get clothes on, and finally he just grabbed us and took us outside," said Russell.  "We're tough, we'll bounce back."

The family shopped for basic things at Wal-Mart, but it's the not so basic things, that upset Scott the most.

"I had my kids Christmas presents in there, Lexi and Lucas's Christmas presents," said Scott.

He says money was tight this year, but he still managed to find the perfect gifts for his kids and girlfriend.

"I made them a little dog and a little cat, and a heart for my girlfriend," said Scott.

"It's a bad deal here right at Christmas," said Russell.

"Wish I could have gotten my little kids presents out," said Scott.

Despite losing so many physical things, Smith says there are still things to be thankful for.

"None of that matters to me, as long as my mom and dad was out of the house," said Scott.

"The boy saved our lives, if it wasn't for him, we'd be goners," said Russell.

As the family tries to rebuild, they say they can't give enough thanks to those who've helped.

"You would be surprised how many people will just come out to help you," said Scott.

"There's still a lot of good people in this world," said Russell.

The family is staying in a hotel through the Red Cross for a few days, but after that, they say they don't know where they'll go.

Those wanting to help the family can donate money to:

Single Family Fire Fund
Red Cross Little Egypt Service Center
665 N. Airport Road
Murphysboro, IL 62966

That money is used to pay for clothes, food, etc. and is given to families in need following a local disaster.

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