COVINGTON, Ga. - An outpouring of support from communities near and far this holiday weekend has surprised a Covington police officer and his family after fire destroyed their home the day before Thanksgiving.
Not much is left of Officer Chris Smith's home. Smith told Channel 2's Jade Hernandez he wasn't able to salvage much from the fire, but he got the most important things out of harm's way Wednesday – his son and daughter.
Keeping it safe inside a Ziploc baggie, Smith showed Hernandez a photo he found Friday morning among the rubble of his home.
"That is actually a picture of my 7-year-old son right when he was born," Smith said. "The Lord couldn't give me nothing better than this cause that is something I will never be able to replace again."
Fire ravaged Smith's home the day before Thanksgiving. His son and 19-year-old daughter were asleep until he pulled them from the burning home.
Friday, neighbors from near and far made deliveries of supplies to help the Smith family through this tough time.
Smith's neighbor Donnie Webster, a retired firefighter, says he has been amazed by the outpouring of support for the Smith family as well.
"We hate to see bad things happen to each other," Webster said. "I used to be a firefighter and it's more of a brotherhood thing.
"Some people don't even know us. And it's just been so heart touching. And we're so thankful," Smith said.
Firefighters say when they arrived at Smith's home, the attic was fully engulfed in flames. Since there are no fire hydrants in the area, and it was a windy morning, firefighters had a hard time keeping the fire from spreading.
Despite what little is left of his home, Smith says he walked away from this fire with much more than what was taken from him.
"Without people, and family and friends and loved ones to share it with you have nothing," Smith said.
Fire investigators said they still do not have an exact cause for the fire.
The Covington Police Department is helping to raise funds for the Smith family on the department's Facebook page. Click here if you would like to help.