By Chris Jensen
The owners of Matt’s Building Materials, from l to r: Luis Mancillas, Jeremy, Danny, Diana, Ben and Isaac Smith.
January 1st is supposed to be a day of joy, of celebrating the new year and looking forward. But for the Smith family, it will be remembered as a day of agonizing heartbreak, when they lost nearly everything they had worked so hard to build over the past five decades.
Matt’s Building Materials’ entire 120,000-square-foot store in Pharr, Texas, was destroyed by fire that day. It took 15 hours for more than 100 first responders from 15 different agencies to finally put out the blaze, and luckily no one was injured.
A devastating fire destroyed Matt’s Building Materials in Pharr, Texas, on January 1, 2022.»
With the fire still smoldering, Danny Smith led first responders, family and team members in prayer and then shared a powerful message of hope about the people of Matt’s being more important than the building—We Are Matt’s, he said.
There would be no New Year’s Day celebrations for the Smiths, but the family and its team members gathered soon after with heavy hearts but with purposeful conviction—figuring out a way to reopen and rebuild as soon as possible.
“We were closed on the first. When the call comes in, I was thinking there’s just no way that happened. But we watched our family’s business burn to the ground,” says Isaac Smith, head of purchasing and who co-owns the business with brothers Jeremy and Ben, their parents, Danny and Diana Smith, and family friend Luis Mancillas.
Click here to see a gallery of Matt’s Building Materials pictures.
“It was heartbreaking. That store is our home. We live, breathe and eat there, spending probably more time there than in our real homes,” Isaac adds.
The immediate outpouring of support from everyone in the community was much appreciated by the Smith family members. “People told us they built their house with us and that we were an icon. You think you do business the right way and develop relationships, but it was amazing to see the positive messages of support and encouragement. We received thousands of messages and comments,” according to Isaac.