LaPlace families adjust after house fires

Published 12:06 am Saturday, February 4, 2017

LAPLACE — Chad Smith and his family were sound asleep overnight Jan. 28 in their home in River Forest Subdivision when Smith heard a loud banging.

It was Smith’s neighbors on Warwick Street, alerting him that their house was on fire and he needed to get everybody out of his house.

“He just said, ‘Get out, get out, get out,’” Smith said. “By the time we got everybody out and went to the street, the fire had jumped from the side of his house to the back and the top of my house.”

According to a report released by the St. John the Baptist Parish Fire Department, the fire started in the downstairs fireplace wall of the home located at 101 Warwick Street.

Engine 533 arrived on the scene at 1:24 a.m. and requested assistance from additional units as well as the Norco Fire Department.

The fire spread quickly to the attic then jumped to Smith’s house next door. The house where the fire started sustained major damage and the residents are believed to be staying with relatives.

Smith’s house sustained serious damage, especially to the upstairs where everyone’s bedrooms are located. Smith’s 13-year-old daughter suffered the most, losing all of her clothes and many of her possessions.

“No one was hurt, thank God,” said Smith, adding the family is bunking together in the downstairs portion of the house for now. “Our neighbors and our church family (Celebration Church) have stepped up and helped us out. If people want to do something, they can. I don’t need nothing. People ask me what I need. I need for this not to have happened to us.”

This week Smith rallied enough to cook up a meal for the East St. John High School football players who signed their national letters of intent on National Signing Day.

He said it was his first time cooking since the fire.

“It’s just hard when your house is all messed up, you know,” he said. “It felt good to go cook for somebody.”