By John L. Ross, Staff Writer
An early evening fire Tuesday left a Gray family homeless.
West Knox Volunteer Fire Department Chief Darryl Baker said the cause remains under investigation.
Carla Smith, her boyfriend Derrick Scott, her son, Danny Smith and his girlfriend Rebecca Adkins, and her 4-year-old granddaughter, Destiny, lived in the rental property on Highway 1232 in Gray.
But they won’t get to stay in it now — the home suffered serious fire and water damage, especially to the upper floor.
“I don’t know what we’re going to do now,” she said.
She did say they plan to stay with Scott’s mother for now.
Baker said the call came out about 6:30 p.m. Besides West Knox, Bailey Switch Volunteer Fire Department brought a tanker to the scene.
Smith said she was cooking chili for dinner, and needed chili powder from the store.
“I went out to the store, and when I came back, they were dragging stuff out the front door,” Smith said. “I got here right after they called the fire department.”
She said they were bringing the couches outside. “There was smoke coming out of the roof,” she said. “They knocked the door off the hinges trying to get out.”
She said the family did try to save what they could. “I didn’t want to leave my (father’s) dresser and chest in there,” she said. “He’s passed away now and it can’t be replaced.”
Except for Smith, she said everyone else was home when the fire broke out. “None of the smoke detectors went off,” she said. “I had just put in new batteries, but they didn’t go off.”
The property is owned by Reba Kelley, according to Smith. Despite being no official cause, Smith feels she knows how the fire started. “My guess it was electrical,” she said. “I woke up the other night and heard this popping and crackling near the fuse box.”
Crew members went through the house with a thermal imaging camera, according to Baker, to ensure all the “hot spots” were extinguished.
He also said the family’s Christmas presents were hidden on the second floor — which appears to have suffered the bulk of the fire damage.
But Christmas presents were not the only items lost in Tuesday’s fire. “We’ve lost almost everything,” Smith said. “There’s just no saving anything.”
Baker said if the homeowner has insurance, then insurance investigators from the company will review the fire. If not, Baker says the Kentucky State Police will get involved.
It was unknown at press time whether the homeowner carried insurance on the home.
After the fire was under control, Smith was allowed to return to the home, but only to retrieve items from the home’s garage. The main house is too dangerous to enter. “We’re just trying to get some stuff out before somebody comes along and steals it.”
She took a deep breath.
“I’m still shaking,” she said, her voice quavering. “But thankfully, everybody’s OK.”
If anyone would like to help the family during this tough time, they may call Ms. Smith at (606) 304-5985.