A fast-spreading fire barely afforded a family of four enough time to escape Thursday morning before the home was destroyed.
Smith County Assistant Fire Marshal Connie McCoy said the fire broke out about 5 a.m. at 15618 Farm-to-Market Road 14, near the Red Springs community, destroying the two-story wood-frame home.
Mrs. McCoy-Wasson said she believed electrical wiring might have caused the fire, with the family using multiple space heaters, which already had thrown electrical breakers in the house multiple times.
“They did not have heat in the house, so they were using space heaters in several rooms for warmth from the cold. The owner did tell me the homes breakers had flipped several times when the heaters were in use,” she said.
Mrs. McCoy-Wasson said Frances Gallindo awoke to smoke in the home and went to investigate.
“She said smoke was coming from a closet containing the water heater and the electrical panel for the home. She started screaming for the children upstairs to get out of the house and got her son, who was downstairs, out,” she said. “They just got out of the home before it was totally engulfed.”
Mrs. McCoy-Wasson said the two-story home was reduced to piles of charred ash about a foot high, leaving the family with little in way of possessions.
A family pet was lost in the fire.
Mrs. McCoy-Wasson said the family did not have insurance on the home, and the American Red Cross was called to assist the family.
Red Springs Fire Department officials said a relief fund has been set up at any Southside Bank branch or at the United Heritage Credit Union on South Broadway Avenue and Houston Street.
The relief fund is set up under the name “Frances Galindo.”
Mrs. McCoy-Wasson said the fire was the third house fire she had worked for the week as of Thursday afternoon.
“This family was lucky because they did not have smoke detectors in the home. It is important to have working smoke detectors to ensure your family’s safety,” she said.