TYLER, TX (KLTV) - Brian Miller was recently laid off as a paramedic. And, with six children and a stay at home wife, paying the bills has been a tall task. His oldest daughter got married last week on the family's back porch before his son-in-law deployed to Afghanistan. Christmas was supposed to be the bright spot in a dim year. But Thursday morning, it all came burning down.
The Tyler Fire Department rushed to the Miller's home on the 500 block of East Charnwood Street just after six o'clock in the morning, arriving to the home engulfed in flames. Everyone got out of house safely, though one of their dogs died in the fire.
"This is our living room," said Khylie Edinger, Miller's oldest daughter. "Pictures from when we were little are gone. It's harder every time I come in here."
"Aspen, Noah, and Drew; they definitely understand what's happened," said Cherie McCrae, a close family friend. "They were crying. They were in their underwear freezing cold. No shoes. They just got out of the house immediately."
"So much has happened in this house," said Edinger.
"All this, we just redid," said Edinger, motioning around the room. "The floor we just finished about two weeks ago. And, this is where it started. This was my room. My two little brothers and then my baby sister were sleeping in here."
"They are you're typical American honest, good, hardworking people that just love America," said McCrae.
"I got married here a week ago," said Edinger. "I was standing right here when I got married."
"They love their family," said McCrae. "They would do anything for anybody and it's - they've had their kids here. This is their dream, and it's gone."
"We're thinking it was the heater that was on the wall right there by those two windows," said Edinger.
"Watch those space heaters and make sure they're safe - that there's nothing combustible close to them," said Tammy Prater, with the Smith County American Red Cross. "We love you at the Red Cross. We'd love to meet you. But, we don't want to meet you under these circumstances."
"Right now, the Red Cross is putting them up in a hotel," said McCrae. "After that we don't know what's going to happen."
"At the end of last week we had three fires," said Prater. "We responded to another three fires this last weekend and we've probably responded to four to five fires already this week."
"All of the stuff in the attic was melted, of course, in the bedroom," said McCrae. "It's destroyed. We had stashed all the toys in the attic and they were in Tammy and Brian's room underneath the bed."
"I'm glad that my family's okay," said Edinger. "I'm glad that everybody made it out. We're going to make it through it."
One of the younger children, Noah, turned 12 years old Wednesday. All of his birthday presents were also destroyed. If you'd like to help the family re-build, and save their Christmas, just head over to any Southside Bank. Donations can be made under the Humphries-Miller Fund or click here to findout more.