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UPDATE: Communities Come Together to Support Family of Fire Victims

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UPDATE 1/24/14 @ 10 p.m.
POINT PLEASANT, W.Va. (WSAZ) – Communities came together to help the family of two fatal fire victims as a third sibling continues to be treated for his injuries.

Last weekend, a house fire in Point Pleasant claimed the lives of a brother and sister.

On Friday night, the basketball game between Point Pleasant and Gallia Academy was merely the backdrop for fundraising.

More than $10,000 was raised by different community groups and businesses. Admission to the game was free, but people in attendance were asked to make donations that will go to the family.

"We need and appreciate everybody who has been helping because without that support, I don't see how we could get back up," the victims’ uncle Noah Smith said.

Red ribbons of remembrance were on display throughout the standing-room-only crowd.

Bill and LaTanya Smith, and three of their children, Tiffany Grant, 26, Tre Smith, 14, and Braxton Smith, 11, were all in their home on Main Street when it caught fire.

Family members say they were able to knock an air conditioning unit out of a second story window to try to get out.

Tiffany, Tre and Braxton all suffered severe burns.

Braxton passed away from his injuries Sunday at a hospital in Columbus.

His sister Tiffany passed away from her injuries at a Huntington hospital Monday evening.

Tre continues to be treated at a hospital in Cincinnati, Noah says.

"Losing Braxton, losing Tiffany… One was horrific, two became unbearable, and three -- if the word is true, God says he will not put more on you than you can bear, then he can't take Tre,” Noah said. “Tre has to make it. He has to survive."

The funeral is Saturday at Point Pleasant High School. Visitation begins at 1 p.m., with the funeral following at 2 p.m.



UPDATE 1/21/14 @ 9:30 a.m.
POINT PLEASANT, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A second person has died after a fire in Point Pleasant.

The fire happened Saturday morning in the 1200 block of Main Street.

Bill and LaTanya Smith, and three of their children, Tiffany Grant, 26, Tre Smith, 14, and Braxton Smith, 11, were all in the home when it caught fire.

Family members say they were able to knock an air conditioning unit out of a second story window to try to get out.

Tiffany, Tre and Braxton all suffered severe burns.

Braxton passed away from his injuries Sunday at a hospital in Columbus.

His sister Tiffany passed away from her injuries at a Huntington hospital Monday evening.

Funeral services for Tiffany and Braxton have been set for Saturday at 1 p.m. at Point Pleasant High School.

Family members say Tre is currently in a hospital in Cincinnati. He has severe burns, but has been responsive. Family members say he is in stable condition.

The Point Pleasant Fire Department and State Fire Marshal's Office are investigating the fire.

They say it started on the first floor of the home, but at this time, the cause is undetermined.

Bill and LaTanya released a statement through a family member's Facebook page Tuesday that said, "We are extremely grateful for all of the prayers love and support as our family is going through this difficult time."

Several fundraisers have been set up for the family and an account has been set up at all People's Bank locations. Donations can be made to the "Billy and LaTanya Smith Benefit Fund".



UPDATE: 1/19/14 @ 8:45 p.m.
POINT PLEASANT, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- One of the children from Saturday morning's fire in Point Pleasant has died.

Inez Whitt says her nephew Braxton, 11, has died as a result of burns from Saturday's house fire that destroyed the Smith's home.

Braxton's older sister A.J. tells WSAZ.com that their brother Tre, 14, is in critical condition, with burns on 82% of his body. He is at Shriners Hospital for Children in Cincinnati. She said another sister, Tiffany, 26, is in critical condition at Cabell-Huntington Hospital and that once she is stable, she will be taken to University Hospital in Cincinnati.

Whitt told WSAZ.com she got a phone call early Sunday morning about her nephew Braxton's death.

"My heart dropped," Whitt said. "But they said that if he would have made it, he might have been brain dead."

She added, "[It's] terrible to know that he passed, but it's best to be in the hands of God, knowing that God's taking care of him."

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information on this story.



UPDATE: 1/19/14 @ 11:40 a.m.
POINT PLEASANT, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- One of the children from Saturday morning's fire in Point Pleasant has died.

Inez Whitt, sister of Bill Smith, says her nephew Braxton, 11, has died as a result of burns from Saturday's house fire that destroyed the Smith's home.

Whitt also says her other nephew Tre's, 14, status has been changed to 100% of his body being burned. She says that procedures were being done this morning to try and scrape off the burned skin.

Whitt says there are not any funeral arrangements just yet.

At this time, Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus does not have any information to release.

A special benefit fund is set up to help the Smith family get back on their feet after the fire.

People can now make donations to the "Billy and LaTanya Smith Benefit Fund" at any People's Bank location.

100% of the money will go toward their recovery.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information on this story.



ORIGINAL STORY: 1/18/14 @ 5:50 p.m.
POINT PLEASANT, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Inez Whitt stands just steps from her brother's destroyed home.

"Smoke up in the air like you wouldn't believe," Whitt said.

Whitt said her brother, Bill Smith, and his family were trapped by a fire and trying to get out.

She said Smith's children, Braxton, 11, Tre, 14, and their daughter Tiffany, were all severely burned on 80% to 100% of their bodies.

They were all airlifted to Cabell Huntington Hospital.

"The youngest one is burned 100 percent," Whitt said. "They say if he makes it through this, if he lives through this, then chances are he'll probably have to get his legs amputated."

Whitt said Smith and his wife, LaTanya, faced another challenge.

The fire was moving through the house and they were upstairs. They had to escape through a window.

"If they hadn't gotten that air conditioner out, they would've burned up in that fire too," Whitt said. "Billy just did get it out in the nick of time and they jumped out and LaTanya broke her wrist."

Point Pleasant's fire chief said it took a number of crews to put out the fire.

"We had very heavy fire coming out of the front and side of the house," said Point Pleasant Fire Chief, Jeremy Bryant.

Bryant said it was also hard seeing the family outside of their home, hurt and waiting for help.

"You see these young children grow up playing sports and doing things in the community and it is tough," said Bryant.

As she held back tears, Whitt said she hopes everyone will be okay.

"It's going to be alright, they're going to pull through this," said Whitt.

But the smoke rising from the roof, is an all-too-soon reminder of the devastation left behind.

The Point Pleasant community is already rallying behind the Smiths and their children.

A prayer vigil has been planned for Saturday night.

It's set for 7 p.m. at the Point Pleasant Intermediate School in Point Pleasant.

A special benefit fund has already been set up to help the Smith family get back on their feet after this devastating fire.

People can now make donations to the "Billy and LaTanya Smith Benefit Fund" at any People's Bank location.

100% of the money will go toward their recovery.


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