Firefighters have fought an unusual number of house fires in the past few weeks, and officials say they hope the fires remind residents how important it is to have an emergency plan and smoke detectors.
Smith County Assistant Fire Marshal Oren Hale said smoke alarms are the device every home should have.
“Smoke alarms are paramount in every home. When you see something like this you see the importance of those smoke alarms,” he said at the scene of a mobile home fire in the 4400 block of Morningside Drive Tuesday afternoon.
That fire started shortly after 11 a.m. in the single-wide home, and neighbors said they quickly attempted to put out the fire.
Hale said he did not know the cause of the fire as of Tuesday afternoon, and said that because of the extensive fire damage, the cause might not be learned.
Hale said EMS transported the family to a local hospital to check them out.
Firefighters from numerous departments arrived on scene and put out the blaze, but the home was destroyed as was the family's SUV, which was parked next to the trailer.
The recent fires have a variety of causes, but Hale said the important thing for residents is to get out of the home quickly.
“If you start smelling a lot of smoke then don't worry about investigating, just get out and call the fire department,' he said.
“We saw a little smoke coming from that way so I got up to look. By the time I got out of the door, the flames had busted through the bedroom window,” Jessica Lopez said at the scene.
Her neighbor, Mary Spiegel, said her husband tried to use a water hose, but the fire spread too quickly.
“He tried to help, but it was no use,” she said.
So far this year the county has experienced one fire fatality. In April, Jody Jenkins was one day from her 48th birthday when her RV caught fire while she was asleep.
Those wishing to help can make donations to the American Red Cross, which assists families affected by house fires and other disasters.