Woman Escapes House Fire, Charity Clothing Destroyed

Wednesday, Nov 7, 2012  |  Updated 7:16 PM CDT
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Tara Smith says a house fire may have destroyed her home but it only reignites her determination to complete her project to create a fair trade line of lingerie with all the profits funding poverty relief programs.

Lindsay Wilcox, NBC 5 News

Tara Smith says a house fire may have destroyed her home but it only reignites her determination to complete her project to create a fair trade line of lingerie with all the profits funding poverty relief programs.

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Fire Destroys Home of Mission Worker

Fire ripped through a house in the 2800 block of Proctor Street in Irving overnight. Tara Smith made it out safely bit the clothes she brought back from Africa for a benefit project did not.

Woman Escapes Fire, Flames Destroy Charity Clothing

Tara Smith was sleeping when flames started shooting from a vent in the living room at about 2 a.m. Wednesday. Smith managed to escape the fire with minor burns, but the fire damaged thousands of dollars worth of handmade clothing she planned to sell in an effort to raise funds for villagers in Africa.
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A woman who just returned home from a trip overseas is now trying to find a place to live after her home went up in flames Wednesday morning.

It happened on the 2800 block of Proctor Street in Irving at about 2 a.m.

Tara Smith was sleeping when the flames started shooting from a vent in the living room floor. Smith tried to put out the fire, but it spread quickly.

Smith had just flown in from Africa at about 10 p.m. Tuesday, and brought thousands of dollars worth of lingerie with her, handmade by villagers. Through her nonprofit and fair trade business, the money would have helped seamstresses in Cameroon.

Smith is grateful she managed to escape from the home with minor burns.

"It's one of those moments I have to kind of put my hands up and thank God I'm still alive," Smith said. I woke up, my dogs okay, so I'm just holding on to my faith right now."

Investigators say an electrical problem with the thermostat caused the fire.

The fire destroyed nearly half of the merchandise Smith brought back with her from Cameroon, but much of it made it out of the fire with no damage at all.

The couple will be sorting through everything, and still plans to launch their fair trade lingerie line on Black Friday.

"We wanted to take something that was fun and sexy, and make it good," said Smith. "And turn it into a vehicle to change the world."

NBC 5's Kendra Lyn and Lindsay Wilcox contributed to this report.

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