SMITH COUNTY, TX (KLTV) - An East Texas couple had lived in their home nearly 40 years, but Wednesday night they had to call the fire department to their home on County Road 290 in Smith County not once, but twice.
They went back into their home Friday for the first time since the fires to see what was left.
"When the first fire started, we were sitting right here, watching TV," said Fredie Wheat.
That was just after one o'clock on Thursday morning, when Fredie smelled smoke coming from the garage of his home.
"I went out the patio door, and circled the house, and opened up the walk-in door there, and I seen the fire," said Fredie.
He told his wife, Pat, to call 9-1-1, and started to fight the fire with his water hose. 20 minutes later, the fire department had put out the fire, declared the house cold, and left. So Fredie went to bed. His wife didn't, and this time, she was the one to smell the smoke.
"I thought, 'Oh, my God! What is that?' and I jumped up and I opened the garage door, and flames were just shooting up to the ceiling, and smoke was just billowing in," said Pat. "I mean, I barely saw the flames, and I slammed the door, and I hollered, 'Fredie, the house is on fire! We got to get out of here in a hurry!'"
"[The] fire department responded again, and this time it took 'em about two and a half hours to put the fire out," said Fredie. "It's pretty devastating to see your house go up."
The family says a fan is what sparked and started both fires. Friday they saw that most of their possessions are gone, except for a room that Pat says she prayed over while the house was burning.
"It's fire damaged, and water damaged, but it's not destroyed," said Pat.
The Wheats say they're just glad that no one was hurt. They're already planning for the future, and say they'll build in the same spot.
"You can cut a tree down, and see the sprouts come up from around the stump," said Fredie. "Well, my tree's on the ground right now, but the sprouts are fixing to come back, and it's going to grow into another tree.
The Wheats say of all the items they lost, the things they'll miss the most are several pieces of antique furniture that have been in the family for more than 100 years.