by Nick Lawton
ODESSA - It's a common problem in the winter, even during a burn ban. The day after Christmas brought tragedy for one Odessa family as a fire raged through their home.
The Odessa Fire Department got the call around 3 p.m. Sunday afternoon. When officials arrived at the corner of Westbrook and University they found the Smith family's front bedroom on fire.
They managed to knock it down but not before the fire spread to the adjoining bathroom and hallway.
Now, that family finds themselves displaced, but unharmed. Still, not what they wanted for their holiday season.
"It always makes it worse because it's Christmas," Odessa Fire Battalion Chief, Danny Wyatt, said. "They've got their presents, they're gonna lose their home for a while, they're gonna have to have help with clothes and lodging."
The two parents and three children made it out safely with their two dogs, but they lost their cat in the blaze.
The Red Cross arrived on scene and will be taking care of them. They said what happened to the Smith's has become all too common during the winter.
"Winter is one of the busiest times for the Red Cross," Red Cross Representative Margo Pineda, said. "There's a lot of house fires, that's the biggest disasters that we have in this area. I think I've responded to one a week so far."
Firefighters said the cause of the fire is still under investigation and wouldn't go into detail. But NewsWest 9 talked to the parents off-camera who told us it was started by two of their children throwing lit matches at each other in their room.
It's during cold times like these, when the heat turns up, that officials warn everyone to keep their homes safe from a fiery fate.
"Be careful with anything that's burning, your candles, your heaters," Wyatt explained.
"Get your family ready, talk about it," Pineda said. "Tell your family where to meet in case there's a fire."