Community reaches out to support CPD officer after fire

COVINGTON — Community support for Covington Police Department Officer Chris Smith and his family after the loss of their home to an early morning fire last week has been overwhelming, said Capt. Ken Malcom.

“The community has really embraced the Smiths through this,” he said. “We’ve had probably about four truckloads of clothes donated to them. The Smiths really want everyone who brought in anything to help their family to be thanked.”

Just after 7 a.m. Wednesday, firefighters responded to a fire at the Smith home on Mt. Mariah Road.

Newton County Fire Service Chief Kevin O’Brien said when the first unit arrived on the scene, smoke and flames were coming through the roof, and the back of the home and attic were fully involved.

O’Brien said Monday that fire investigators determined the fire was accidental and likely started in the fireplace.

The 2,800-square-foot home was destroyed in the blaze, leaving the Smith family homeless and without anything other than the clothes on their backs.

The CPD began collecting items for the family and by the weekend had collected enough clothes the get the family through the winter, Malcom said.

“They are doing well, and are in the process of trying to relocate temporarily until they can rebuild their home in the same place,” he said Monday. “But they are out of everything. Just think about what you have in your home just to get ready for work — shampoo, deodorants, hair dryers – they’re having to get everything, and they are slowly getting these things back.”

In addition to the family’s personal items, Smith also lost all his CPD gear. Malcom said Smith had returned to work Monday, but was in the process of getting a new uniform, equipment, bulletproof vest, radio and other gear.

“He has to get everything. It’s going to be a slow process,” Malcom said.