NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) – Gatlinburg property owners are wondering when they will be able to go check on their homes.
Chris Allen said he knew the fires were bad, but didn’t realize just how bad they were until he logged onto his computer and watched what was happening to his home.
“That was our dream home. A lot of memories are there,” Allen said.
Allen received a call Monday night that his smoke alarm was going off. He watched the flames shooting up below and smoke filling up the home.
“We were pretty upset. My sister was here, we were at work, and she was standing behind me crying when she saw it live,” Allen said.
Security cameras on the house recorded what was happening. Allen and his family watched from their Kentucky home.
This Gatlinburg house was a rental property they would rent out throughout the year, but the 4,000 square foot cabin that slept more than 14 people was more than that. It was a place filled with memories for Allen and his family.
Now it’s gone.
“We’re trying to decide whether we want to rebuild. Is Gatlinburg going to be the same?” Allen said.
The city has been evacuated and no one has been allowed back in since Monday. Roads are closed as first responders and the National Guard work to put the fires out and clear debris.
“My memories at Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg area go way back,” Mark Clark said.
Clark lives in Philadelphia. He doesn’t know if his second home that’s been in the family for more than two decades is still standing.
“It’s so sad those families like ours who have so many memories to see some of that go up in smoke,” Clark said.
City officials are calling the area unsafe and keeping people away until they access all the damage.
“If it is burnt we’ll plan to replace it and build new memories,” Clark said.
Gatlinburg city officials still don’t know exactly when people will be allowed back in to go check on their homes. There are teams of first responders working around the clock to clear debris. They hope to reopen some roads on Thursday.