UPDATE: Evacuations lifted in Smith County - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

UPDATE: Evacuations lifted in Smith County

UPDATE 9/08/11 6:30: Smith County Sheriff's Office has confirmed that all evacuations in Smith County have been lifted at this time.


SMITH COUNTY, TX (KLTV) - A mandatory evacuation remains in effect Wednesday night because of a massive fire in Smith County.

The fire started around 3 p.m. Wednesday afternoon off of CR 240. Authorities issued a mandatory evacuation between CR 26 and CR 233. 

Families waited anxiously to hear if they would have a home to return to after a fire swept through Smith County. This is the second time this week Renee Alphin has helped her daughter evacuate. They just went through this same scare Monday.

"We had 13 dogs, 12 chickens and several other little turtles and things; she has a little animal rescue. So, we had actually evacuated everything on Monday, got back home and here we are evacuating again," Alphin says.

When Alphin heard her daughter was in danger again, she left work early to help load up as much as she could.

"The car was still full, thank God it was. Most of the stuff was still in the car; she had not unloaded," Alphin says.

This time they had just 30 minutes to evacuate. Even with a carload full of belongings, it was not enough time to grab everything, but Alphin says they rescued what matters most.

"Obviously the most important thing is making sure she got out of the house okay. Human life is way more important than anything else," she says.

While her daughter tried to find out about her property, Alphin waited in a nearby church parking lot, trying to decide what to do next.

"We do whatever it takes for our kids," Alphin says.

Authorities still have County Roads 233 and 26 closed off. The fire is 80 percent contained, but we're told the evacuations are still in effect. Authorities say this fire is very hard to contain. It came extremely close to burning one home. Firefighters worked with not only what they had, but with the home's garden hoses as well. Fortunately, they were able to save it.

If you have had to evacuate your home, the Red Cross has set up a way to let your loved ones know that you are okay. If you would like to register for the "Safe and Well" website, click here.

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