A Houston family lost their home to a fire just before Thanksgiving. The parents said if they could go back in time, they would do a few things different.


“It’s a very sad day watching your house burn and you can’t do anything about it,” Matt Smith said.


The Smith Family walks through their fire damaged home

The Smith Family walks through their fire damaged home


Smith said he came from work on Nov. 22 to find his house full of smoke. He said luckily nobody was inside.


Smith, his wife Melissa, and their three children ages — 13, 4, and 1 — walked through the aftermath one week later.


“We weren’t able to salvage anything,” Matt Smith said.


He said the fire was started by an electrical problem, and by the time the Houston Fire Department arrived, it was too late. The house was engulfed in flames.


His 4-year-old son, Elliot, said he misses his dog Merlin, who was likely trapped inside the home as it burned.


“I’ve tried to look for remains of him,” Matt Smith said. “I cannot find him anywhere, so there is a little hope in my heart that he might have run off.”


Smith family dog, Merlin. Courtesy: Matt Smith

Smith family dog, Merlin. Courtesy: Matt Smith


The Smiths rented their house and didn’t opt for renters insurance. They said the community has been very generous, donating clothes and money.


Still they want to share their story of tragedy to encourage others to pay for the coverage they didn’t.


“It was $8.80 a month for something like $45,000 of coverage and it’s just gut wrenching. That’s two gallons of gas, two gallons of fuel or my livelihood,” Matt Smith said. “Renters insurance would be a life saver right now.”


The Smith family is moving forward with the help of others, but say from where they stand, it’s a hard road ahead.


The American Red Cross aided the Smiths after the fire. The family is now staying with relatives.


A GoFundMe page has been set up to help them get back on their feet.


KTVA 11’s Shannon Ballard can be reached via email or on Facebook and Twitter.