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Father describes South Bend fire that killed his five children

In a Facebook video shared by digital creator CindyBoo, David Lee Smith, 67, describes the fire in which his five young children were killed.
In a Facebook video shared by digital creator CindyBoo, David Lee Smith, 67, describes the fire in which his five young children were killed.

David Lee Smith, the 67-year-old father who lost five of his young children in a South Bend house fire Saturday, has described what happened.

Smith had been caring for all six children on his own, from 17-month old Faith to 11-year-old Angel. Not only that day. He is a single parent with full custody.

Killed along with Faith were Demitis Smith, 10; Davida Smith, 9; Deontay Smith, 5; and D'Angelo Smith, 4.

Angel Smith is in critical condition at Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis.

Smith was interviewed on video by Cindy Johnson, a local digital creator who goes by the name CindyBoo. She shared their interview on Facebook in an effort to help raise money for Smith.

Smith says he was upstairs in his room watching TV when one of his sons left to use the restroom. When the boy returned, he told Smith that he smelled smoke and thought there was a fire.

He says he looked downstairs and saw smoke coming up the steps.

“So I jumped up and when I looked down the stairs I seen smoke coming up the steps," Smith says. "So I run down there to see where the fire is, and all of a sudden is said, WHOOSH! And I had to jump back up the stairs, and I immediately told them all to get together. And I put a blanket over them and started kicking out the windows."

Smith says the smoke was so thick and black that he was starting to pass out. He stuck his head out a window for some oxygen.

"The next thing I knew the smoke was so thick and black you couldn’t even see nothing. I started passing out and stuck my head out the window, got me some fresh air. I tried to call back to where the babies and stuff was at. I could just get part of the way and the smoke was just taking all my oxygen from me."

He says he then dove out a window and hoped to kick in the front door from the outside, then come up the stairs to save his children.

"Then when I got out there and there were three other dudes who helped me kick the door in, but then the flames just threw us back out.”

People interested in helping the family can donate to a Community Fund that's been established at all 1st Source Bank branches. There's also a GoFundMe.

Parrott, a longtime public radio fan, comes to WVPE with about 25 years of journalism experience at newspapers in Indiana and Michigan, including 13 years at The South Bend Tribune. He and Kristi live in Granger and have two children currently attending Indiana University in Bloomington. In his free time he enjoys fixing up their home, following his favorite college and professional sports teams, and watching TV (yes that's an acceptable hobby).