Everything Lost For Broken Arrow Fire Victim

Tuesday, March 3rd 2009, 5:09 pm
By: News On 6

By Jeffrey Smith, The News On 6

BROKEN ARROW, OK -- A father speaks out about losing his son and his home.  A house fire killed a couple who were married just last year.  Investigators say the blaze may have started from food left on the kitchen stove.  

Wendell Smith is the father of one of the victims.  He also lived at the house, but was out of town when the fire broke out.  He says he's overwhelmed with feelings of guilt, grief, and loss.

03/03/2009  Related Story: Broken Arrow Fatal Fire Victims Identified

"I lost everything. I lost everything. The only thing I got is what the Red Cross gave me, and my neighbors helped me out. That's it. I got nothing," said Wendell Smith.

Wendell Smith says he has to start over.  His house was destroyed.  His son and daughter-in-law are gone.

"Matthew was a great son. He was funny, I enjoyed him. He liked to travel," said Wendell Smith.  "He loved to cook. He loved to cook. He loved to cook. He always wanted to be a chef, but he loved to cook."

Matthew Smith had been married to Kimberly Arthur for only a year.  Both of them died when their Broken Arrow house burned down on Friday night.  Neighbors say it only took minutes for the fire to engulf the house.

Wendell lived in the house with his son.  But, on the night of the fire, he was in Texas visiting his daughter.  It's a trip he makes every two months.

"I keep thinking, I keep thinking that maybe if I was here I could have done something. I just talked to him an hour before this happened, and he was cooking dinner, and he told me I can't wait till you get home," said Wendell Smith.

When Smith heard about the fire, he drove through the night to get home.

"And, the Broken Arrow Police was out here, and they told me, they told me about my son, you know. And, it's hard right now," said Wendell Smith.

Investigators say the fire likely started at the kitchen stove, but the investigation is still ongoing.

The only thing Wendell saved from the rubble was a case, containing his war medals from 30 years of service.  He says it's all he has left.

The Wendell Smith Support Trust has been established at Arvest Bank.  Donations can be made at any Arvest location.