East Texas home destroyed in an early morning fire - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

East Texas home destroyed in an early morning fire


Early Friday morning, a fire destroyed a Smith County home.

It happened on FM 16 about half way between Lindale and Red Springs around one a.m.

The house was full of family members preparing to travel to a family reunion. They all got out okay, and were lucky they weren't hurt, because a neighbor reported hearing an explosion that shook his windows.

We sat down with the neighbor and took a look at the video he shot at the scene.

David Ashcraft couldn't sleep Thursday night, so he was wide awake when he heard an explosion from across the street. He says he saw a large smoke ring above the trees. He grabbed his iPhone and ran out the door to an engulfed house.

"Within seconds of the time it exploded, there was already fire coming out of the windows and the doors. When we got over there, we didn't know if there was going to be people hurt from the fire or explosion. Fortunately they all got out safe and unharmed," Ashcraft said.

Lindale and Red Springs Fire Departments got there as the fire reached the ammunition in the house.

"You can hear it here going off, popping, and we didn't want to get too close because we didn't want to get hit by exploding bullets," Ashcraft recalled.

The fire spread to several nearby cars, and the residents couldn't move them because their keys were in the house.

Ashcraft said neither he nor his neighbors knew what blew up.

"They said they didn't even have gas going to the house. It was all electric. It's unfortunate that they weren't able to get insurance on the house before this happened," Ashcraft recalled.

"But it was a terrible fire. I just can't believe there wasn't anybody hurt in it, but I'm really thankful that there wasn't," Ashcraft said.

Smith County Fire Marshals found remnants of a Freon canister, leading them to believe excessive heat caused it to explode, but was not the cause of the fire.

Officials also say the Freon could have produced Phosgene gas, a poison gas used in the World Wars. They have tracked down where the fire started, but the cause is undetermined.

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