Fire destroys Smith County home - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Fire destroys Smith County home

Photo Courtesy: Brian Brandt Photo Courtesy: Brian Brandt

Smith County (KLTV) - Smith County fire crews were called to a home on Rebel Road around 4:30 on Thanksgiving Day. 

It's the last thing you expect to hear on a quiet holiday afternoon.

"A neighbor came up to my house and just told me the house is on fire," said neighbor Amy Compton.

Compton stepped outside her front door to find flames spewing out of her neighbor's home. She was the one that actually called 9-1-1.

"It was bad," Compton said.

Bad enough that four volunteer fire departments--Noonday, Bullard, Dixie, and Flint-Gresham, were called in to fight it.

"My daughter got a phone call and she went ballistic so we all got in the car and came home," said homeowner Skip Mills.

On the way home from Tyler, where they were eating with friends, homeowner Skip Mills couldn't believe that it was actually his property.

"They said, 'Your house is on fire,' and I said 'No there's some smoke somewhere.' Then I got here and saw the devastation and I couldn't believe it."

This isn't the first time the Mills have had to deal with fire. Skip's daughter has been through the same thing.

"I saw her whole life end up in a 20 foot dumpster, and now I'm going to experience that personally and see my world go in a 20 foot dumpster."

Skip says he was able to recover his wife's purse, including her credit cards and checkbook. But for the most part, he had to stand there, and watch his home of 21 years burn.

"The hard part is we've been married 40 years," Mills said. "All the memories the pictures, birth certificates, marriage license, all those things are very hard to replace."

The Mills also lost one of their two cats in the fire. The home was insured, but the Mills are accepting donations at Southside Baptist Church in Gresham. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

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