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Super Bowl support for family of burned boy
CINCINNATI (Angenette Levy) -- The Smith family has endured an unimaginable loss.
Bill and his wife LaTonya lost two of their children in a fire that destroyed their home in Point Pleasant, West Virginia. Their son, who survived, is recovering at Shriner's Hospital in Cincinnati. But some kind words from members of the Seattle Seahawks has brought them some comfort.
"We had literally seconds to get out," Bill Smith said as he recalled the January 18 fire.
Smith said he and his wife escaped through a second floor window. He said he could hear his children screaming. Smith's sons Tre, 14, Braxton, 11, and daughter Tiffany, 26, escaped through the front door. All had been badly burned.
"I ran back to the front and saw my daughter and she was out. There were two flames coming off of her and I said roll, roll," Smith said.
Braxton and Tiffany died from their injuries the next day. Tre suffered burns to 82% of his body.
Braxton loved football and the Seattle Seahawks. He loved the team so much that his parents chose a casket for him that had the Seahawks' colors.
"He kind of went to the Seahawks on his own. I don't know if it was for the video games he played for the Wii and he loved how Marshawn Lynch was just ripping it up," Smith said.
The Seattle Seahawks heard about the fire and Braxton's passing. Defensive End Bruce Irvin tweeted Bill Smith. Earlier this week, head coach Pete Carroll called Smith. The two spoke by phone.
"We're talking Super Bowl week and he had time to listen to a dad in grief and offer words of encouragement and I appreciate that," Smith said.
Along with the Seahawks, Smith's family has received support from their community in Point Pleasant and from others around the country.
"God has been so good to us through so many people. Not just in our community but it's reached out to this city, it's reached out to surrounding cities. It's nationwide."
Bill Smith is a Steelers fan but on Super Bowl Sunday he will root for the Seahawks. It's what Braxton would have wanted. He'll be at the hospital with Tre.
"If he knows what's going on he's smiling from heaven."
Tre had surgery Friday and it went well.
The Smiths are homeless. They've been staying at an apartment at Shriner's as Tre recovers. They've received many gifts. But, they said they have no place to put them.
Anyone who wants to help the family can do so by donating to the Smith Family Fund at Peoples Bank in Point Pleasant, WV.