Local family recovering after losing home in fire

(ABC 6 News) – After losing their home on the Fourth of July in a fire, the Thomason family is picking up the pieces and ready for a fresh start.

The Thomason’s celebrated the holiday with fireworks on their neighborhood street, much like many families. However, those fireworks were later put into a garbage can next to the house, before they were properly cooled. Lowell Thomason said while the family was watching television later that night, he noticed flames outside his window.

“The fire got between the siding and the plywood and got up into the rafters. It just kind of took off,” Thomason said.

Seven people were in the house at the time, including five children. Everyone made it out of the house in time and Thomason says this is all that mattered.

“Stuff comes and goes but my family is what really matters,” Thomason said.

He said he was worried about family members being inside, and went in the house while it was on fire multiple times to check until he was sure.

“It was on fire, everything is burning, everything I own is in there, but it’s kind of relaxing knowing everyone is out and everyone is safe,” Thomason said.

While everyone made it out of the house in the case of the Thomasons, State Fire Marshal Jim Smith says that has not been the case everywhere. Smith says this year, there has been a 30% increase in fire-related deaths compared to 2021.

“Last year at this time we had 19 fire fatalities and at this time, we are at 25,” Smith said.

Out of the fatalities so far, seven of them have been cigarette-related.

Smith says smokers especially must take precautions when ashing cigarettes and smoke outside whenever possible. When it comes to fireworks, once you are finished, pour water over them and allow them to sit for 24 hours before disposing of them.

“How many people have put fireworks in their garbage can and never had a problem,” Lowell said. “It just takes one time.”

There are other ways people can prevent fires and tragedies like at the Thomason house.

“Having working smoking alarms,” Smith said. “Stay in the kitchen when you cook, go outside and smoke and make sure cigarettes are completely snuffed out.”

As for the future of the Thomason family, they will be rebuilding their destroyed home come November. They hope to move into the new house in May.