10 people lose home, pets in fire


NINEVEH, Ind. (WISH) — A Johnson County family was left with nothing, not even their shoes, after a fire destroyed their home.

They are now asking for help putting their lives back together.

Smoke is still rising from the ashes nearly 24 hours after the house burned down, leaving 10 people without a place to go.

Video from the Cordry-Sweetwater Volunteer Fire Department & Ambulance Corps shows the house wrapped in flames as they battled the fire.

When Nova Smith saw what had become of the home she and her husband built, all she could do was worry about those inside.

“I screamed and yelled, asked if all my grandchildren were out,” Smith said. “They said yes. We did locate four of our pets. The rest of them have perished.”

“That we know of!” One family member chimed in.

“And everything’s gone!” Smith said.

The fire still burned Friday, as the family looked for several dogs and cats that may have died in the fire or escaped into the nearby woods.

“I’m still shaky,” Smith said. “I can’t walk too much on the property. A couple of dogs, you can see where they perished and I can’t look anymore!”

While they grieve the pets they lost, the biggest worries at the moment are the things they lost.

“Mainly just clothes for the children so we can keep them in school because some of them don’t have shoes,” Smith said. “They don’t have socks. We just got out with what we had on.”

The family says they don’t know what started the fire. Until the fire is completely out and the ashes have cooled, it’s going to be hard to find out much about the fire or what survived it.

“My understanding is it might have been the fireplace chimney going up,” Smith said. “We’re not sure because it came across the porch and exploded. So we’re not really sure yet.”

The family says it’s hard to see their home this way and it’s going to be hard to recover. But they say they’re at least happy they have each other.

“You will survive if you’re together,” Smith said. “We have survived a lot of tough times in life. As long as my children are with me, I’ll live.”

If you’d like to help the family, they’ve set up a GoFundMe. The Nineveh Fire Department is also accepting clothing donations for the family.