Three-story home destroyed by fire - KSWO, Lawton, OK- Wichita Falls, TX: News, Weather, Sports. ABC, 24/7, Telemundo -

Three-story home destroyed by fire

A fire destroyed a huge home west of Lawton overnight, and wiped out 14 years of renovations, and virtually all of the owner's possessions. It broke out just before nine in a neighborhood off Cache Road and Goodyear Boulevard. Dash cam footage from Cache Fire Chief Dale Winham shows what crews faced when they arrived. The homeowner said he heard a popping noise, but thought nothing of it. When it continued, he went outside to check, and noticed his chimney was on fire and quickly called 911. It took firefighters about six hours to put out the flames, and it's still smoldering tonight.

The homeowner, who's also a contractor, isn't sure, and neither are investigators. He says when he was restoring the home, he added triple insulation to the chimney chase that, ironically, was supposed to keep something like this from ever happening.

Homeowner, Billy Smith, says his 48-hundred square foot home couldn't have burned down at a worse time, "Nothing's worse than an accident or tragedy on Christmas Day-that's the worst day."

Smith says he was just about to go to sleep, when he heard a cracking noise. He first thought it was just vermin trying to eat his dog's food. But he kept hearing the noise. When he went out, he noticed the top of his chimney on fire, "If I didn't check on it, I would've went to bed on the opposite side where the fire started. I probably would've been toast."

Cache Fire Chief Dale Winham says when he arrived, he knew he had a battle on his hands, so he called in additional help from Lawton, Wichita Mountain Estates, Geronimo, and Valley View fire departments. While they were fighting, the fire continued to spread and caused an even bigger problem-smith had paints, thinners, solvents, and propane tanks in the home, and they were exploding.

"Well it sounded like fort sill when they're firing ammunition. Propane releases at 280 times to one. You get a little 5 pound propane tank that releases a lot of fireballs, a lot of pressure, and really spreads that fire", said Winham.

Winham says the heat from the fire was even starting to melt their trucks' grills. It was so intense that everyone had to back away and just let the house burn, “It broke my heart. This was a labor of love because i love doing older renovations. Especially when it fell, my heart just fell. It took my breath away. I was just dumbfounded."

Fire fighters returned today to water down some hot spots. Smith says the property used to serve as housing for a nun and priest who taught at a local catholic school. When he moved in, he slowly started to build renovate each part of the home, room by room, "It was just a really cool house with a lot of potential. It's quiet out here on this acreage. You could do basically anything you want. A lot of freedom. No traffic, or confusion. That's why I really enjoyed it."

Smith estimates his home was worth $400,000 and his valuables totaled around $250,000. Some of his prized possessions were the wooden Chippendale antiques that he'd been collecting for years--they're just some of the things that he'll never get back, "Pictures and photographs of your kids and grandkids. Parents that are no longer here--like my dad. Stuff like that you can't replace."

Smith says he will continue to keep a positive attitude and when he gets his piece of mind back, he will start back-

"Rebuilding. Slowly. But it's going to take up all my money and time."

Smith was able to salvage a few motorcycles and his antique jaguar, which he will put in storage. He says he will rebuild in the same spot. As of now, he is staying at his mother's house in Lawton.

Local fire officials says the house fire is still under investigation. They believe it will still smolder for the next several days.

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