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A Texas woman escaped injury Wednesday after a fire gutted her home and destroyed thousands of dollars’ worth of handmade lingerie she'd just brought back from West Africa to sell for charity.
"It's one of those moments I have to kind of put my hands up and thank God I'm still alive," Tara Smith told NBCDFW.com.
The sound of the smoke alarm startled Smith from sleep about 2 a.m. Flames were shooting through a vent in the living room of her home in Irving, northwest of Dallas. She tried to put out the fire, but it spread quickly, she said. Smith managed to escape from the home, suffering minor burns.
“I’m not sure where I will go from here,” Smith told NBCDFW.com. “Everything is like burned.”
Fire officials have not determined the fire's cause.
Just four hours earlier, Smith had returned home from a month-long mission trip to Africa. She returned home with thousands of dollars’ worth of lingerie handmade by villagers in West Africa. Smith planned to sell the clothing through a nonprofit and fair trade business. Money raised would have helped fund development projects and employ seamstresses in Cameroon. Smith said her goal is to help women worldwide to start businesses to sustain their families.
"We are still in shock,” Smith’s mother, Lynette Nadeau, told NBCDFW.com.
Smith stayed hopeful, fighting back tears as she spoke with NBCDFW.com.
“I'm just holding on to my faith right now,” Smith said.
NBCDFW.com's Kendra Lyn and NBC News' Sevil Omer contributed to this report.
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