LONGVIEW, TX (KLTV) – An East Texas mother and son are staying with neighbors after their home was destroyed by fire early Thursday morning.
The fire gutted the house on Luckett Street in Longview, and it turns out, a smoke detector likely saved the family's lives.
Willie Lee is trying to salvage as much as he can from the home where he's spent most of his life. He's looking specifically for special items. As a big music fan, that includes stacks of old records.
"You cannot replace those records anymore," says Lee. "I'm going to go back through these rooms in here, and see what else I can get out, you know, and try to work something out."
Records and trinkets are all that's left, because of a fire that started in the kitchen.
Willie went across the street and called the fire department. By the time they arrived, more than half the home was on fire.
Longview Fire Marshal Johnny Zackary says the Lees should be very thankful their smoke alarm was working.
"We do believe that we averted a major tragedy by the smoke alarm sounding. Without the smoke alarm, it's very possible that we could have had two fatalities at this fire, based on how quick the fire grew and the amount of fire that was involved in this structure," said Zackary.
Willie's 88-year-old mother Annie was taken to the hospital with smoke inhalation. Willie says she's doing well. The family does have home insurance.