41-year-old Paul Smit was killed in the fire, his wife and 16-year-old son were able to make it out alive.
Neighbors say there are actually four kids in the family; the 16-year-old was the only one home at the time though. The other three kids, the youngest being just 8 were at sleepovers.
Barbara Herbert who lives right next door says it still hasn’t hit her yet, she still expects to see him walking around.
Ashley Knott who lives on the other side of the Smits and babysits their kids said she just can’t imagine what the family is going through. “He (Paul) was a really great guy, always there to help everybody. He was very musically gifted, a loving person always loving and caring about other people.”
Investigators say it looks like the fire started in small room connected to the house; they believe it may have been caused by careless smoking. According to the fire chief, the wife woke up to smoke; Paul went to get a fire extinguisher and never returned.
It’s a reality hard to believe, that in just a matter of minutes their whole life was turned upside down.
Herbert says “he played the guitar, he was on the worship team at his church so he knew God, we know where he is.”
The “Hopkins Community Reformed Church” is taking clothing donations for the family, since they lost everything. You can drop off items Saturday between 1-3pm and 5-7pm. For more information on what they need you can call the church at 269-793-7361