Family struggles after devastating fire

STERLING, Va. (WUSA9) -- A fire that swept through a Sterling home at 900 Maple Avenue on Monday, left a family of little people with only the clothes on their back.

Matt Simms could see the plume of smoke as he was returning home from work. As he got closer to his neighborhood he had a "sinking feeling it was his home up in flames.

"I was yelling 'get out of the way'...yelling trying to get a hold of my wife, crying. I just needed to get home," Matt Simms said.

Thankfully, his wife and his two children were not home. An aunt escaped with injuries. Everything was destroyed including the home that was custom built for his family's height and their abilities.

"Everything you could imagine was fit for us," said Matt Simms.

"Our kitchen, the bathrooms, toilets, the sinks, the counter tops light switches everything was designed for our height. Now in an apartment or hotel trying to survive in an average height world will be difficult," Tina Simms said.

The family lost four dogs and two cats in the fire. One cat and a dog escaped but they do not know which of two chihuahuas survived.

"Heartbreaking, devastation. Everything we've owned, pictures wedding dress, the kids memories growing up and Christmas' all gone. Twelve years of it all gone in one day," Tina and Matt Simms said.

The Loudoun County Fire Marshal says the fire started by improperly discarded cigarettes left on the porch. The family says it was either by Tina's aunt or mother who also lives with them.

"I'm devastated. I'm trying to figure out where our family is going to go from here, where we are going to live," said Tina Simms.

"I'm thankful my family is alive and I can't ask for anything more," said Matt Simms.

The family needs all sorts of donations, including clothes and gift cards, and they will have to replace this pediatric wheel chair for their 13-year-old daughter.


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