COVINGTON, Ga. -- A Covington Police Officer and his entire family were without a place to stay Wednesday night. A fast raging fire sent the man and his two children running for their lives.
The daughter had just arrived in town from college for thanksgiving. But officer Chris Smith said he still has reason to be thankful this time of year.
PHOTO SHARE | What are you thankful for this year?
The fire left nothing but the walls still standing. The place was completely charred inside out.
"I woke up to glass breaking," said Officer Smith. "My first thought was someone was breaking in the house - so I jumped out of bed from a dead sleep."
A picture taken while the house was engulfed in flames is posted on the Covington Police Department's Facebook page. "My kids bedrooms were on the other side of the house," the officer said. "And, I just saw nothing but red flames. You couldn't even see out the window."
Officer Smith's 7-year-old son and 19-year-old college student, who had just arrived home from school for the holiday, were in another room. "Both of them were still in the bed asleep," said Officer Smith. "The room was just glowing red from the outside."
Desperate for help, the father knew he had to act fast. "Both of them were lying in the bed not moving. I thought the worst." But then came the screams and calls for help. "Which was the biggest relief of my life was to hear them at that time. Anybody that has kids knows that was my number one priority, making sure they were okay," said Officer Smith.
"Nobody is in the hospital. Nobody is hurt. We won't be attending any funerals - so, that's a blessing. That right there is my Thanksgiving."
The Covington Police Department is collecting donations for the family through the Covington Police who Care Fund. Donations can be dropped off at the department 24 hours a day. It's located at 1143 Oak Street SE. Clothing sizes needed include:
MEN'S: 33x34 pants, XL shirts, shoes 10.5 med
WOMAN'S: med shirt, size 10 skirt knee length or longer, 8.5 shoes, jacket needed
YOUNG WOMAN: med shirt, size 8 skirt knee length or longer, bra 34B, shoes 8.5, jacket needed
BOY: size 7-8 shirt and pant, size 2 shoes, med 8-10 underwear
Visit DeMarco Morgan's Facebook page for more of his stories.