UPDATE: 1:45 p.m. April 8, 2021: A tremendous outpouring of support by community members have supplied Justin Smith and his children with clothing and household goods, according to Marshall police spokesman Sgt. Roger Gibson. Those who want to still help can drop financial donations by the Marshall Police Department, 461 W. Arrow St., or to a GoFundMe page set up for his family, Gibson says. So far, around $12,000 has been donated toward his $50,000 goal.
UPDATE: 04/5/2021, 2:40 p.m. — Marshall Fire Chief Tony Day is providing an update on the fire that destroyed a local police officer’s home.
On Saturday, Justin Smith, an officer with the Marshall Police Department and his four children were out of town when their two-story house in Miami caught fire.
Day clarified an update on the cause of the fire.
Day described when they believe the fire started and the condition it was in when they got there.
MARSHALL — A Saturday night house fire in Saline County has left a family without a home. Justin Smith, an officer with the Marshall Police Department and his four children were out of town when their two-story house, 23875 AD Highway, Miami, caught fire. Marshall Fire Department was called to the scene just before 8 p.m. Saturday to a fully engulfed structure fire, according to their report. Their house and belongings are deemed a complete loss.
Smith, a single parent of children, ages 4 to 10, will now need a new place to live, and the community is rallying to help.
“We are thankful for the outpouring of support. I know Justin and his family are very, very thankful. It’s hard when you lose everything in a fire and have to start from scratch,” says Marshall Police Department spokesman Sgt. Roger Gibson.
Smith is known as a someone who typically helps others, especially in his community.
“Justin and his family are well-thought of, especially in the Miami community. He’s been doing great work for us. They’re just really good people,” Gibson says.
A Go Fund Me page has been set up with a goal of $50,000. So far around $5,000 has been raised online. Financial and supply donations are also being accepted at the Marshall Police Department, 461 W. Arrow St. The family is in need of toiletries, blankets, pillows, food and clothing: girls sizes 5T and 10-12, boys sizes 7-8 and 10-12, and men sizes XL shirts and 32×32 pants. Gibson says around $4,000 in cash has been given to the department for the family, so far.
According to the incident report, Marshall, Malta Bend and Slater fire departments fought the blaze for more than hours before controlling it at 10:10 p.m., dispensing around 32,000 gallons of water. The cause of the fire is unknown. Fire officials continue their investigation.
Marshall fire estimates $150,000 in property loss and $80,000 in items lost in the fire.