Troup Family Loses Everything In House Fire

Joan Harlen and her family returned Wednesday to the place they once called home, examining what is now a mass of charred wood and broken glass.
"I'm just grateful that we weren't here," Joan said.
 It was at about 7 o'clock Tuesday morning, she received a call from the Smith County Fire Marshal's Office.
"I made it to my office manager's office and I said 'Oh my gosh' and I was crying. She said 'What?' and I said 'My house burnt down and I passed out.'"
She was later told the fire began in the back bedroom and cut its way through the home. The power had been out in the area since storms blew through Monday afternoon.
Fire officials can not say whether there was a surge when the power was restored, but they have not ruled out that possiblitly or the possiblity of other electrical problems.
"I had a fan hooked up to an extension cord," Joan said. "So we don't know if it sparked from there. Wherever it came from they said it was a very hot, very,very fast fire."
The children laid out roses to honor their 3 family cats that were lost.
In the broken glass and twisted metal, the Harlen's found pieces of birthday cards and old books. Lost are Joan's wedding ring and a few family heirlooms and antiques. She says what they lost isn't important; what is important is what they still have in each other.
"The stuff that we lost is stuff, it's going to be hard to replace the memories but we can make new memories," she said. "The three most important things actually is my husband and my two children and myself. That's what makes a home, not the stuff in it."
The Harlen family said they are staying with relatives. They do not have insurance. They're now taking time to evaluate their finances before deciding what to do next.

Story by Maya Golden,