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Covington police officer loses home to early morning blaze

Doations to family can be made through Police Who Care fund

COVINGTON — An early morning fire Wednesday has left a Covington Police Department officer and his family without a home for the holidays.

Newton County Fire Service Chief Kevin O’Brien said firefighters responded around 7:15 a.m. to a structure fire on Mt. Mariah Road.

“The first unit on the scene saw smoke and flames coming through the roof,” O’Brien said. “The back of the structure and the attic were fully involved.”

He said firefighters initially attempted to make an offensive attack on the blaze, but without fire hydrants nearby, they soon ran through the 500 gallons of water on the fire truck.

“We had to back off and shuttle water from Elks Club Road and Ga. Highway 142, about a mile away,” O’Brien said.

The Covington Fire Department and the Walton County Fire Department responded to help as well, but the nearly 2,800-square-foot home owned by CPD Officer Chris Smith was a total loss, O’Brien said. Smith and his family made it out of the home safely, but all their belongings were destroyed, he said.

CPD Capt. Ken Malcom said the Police Department is pitching in to help the Smith family, who lost everything they own — including his police gear — to the fire.

“They need absolutely everything,” Malcom said. “We are in the process from the police family standpoint to try to help the family get the necessities because they need everything at this point.”

Malcom said anyone who would like to help the Smith family can make donations to the Covington Police Who Care fund.

“This is one of the reasons we have the Police Who Care fund, to help law enforcement officers in times of emergency like this,” Malcom said. “We are using the funds that we have, but others still want to help, and one way to help is by earmarking a donation for the Smith family.”

For more information about the Police Who Care fund, contact the Covington Police Department at 770-385-6431.

In other news, police continue to look for a black man wearing a ski mask who robbed at gunpoint the Dollar General on U.S. Highway 278 around 8:40 a.m. Wednesday.