Nothing survived the fire.
My name is Jacob Turner. I, along with my mother Anne Turner and her friend Don Daily have lost everything in the fires in the Gatlinburg, TN area. My mother and I were lifelong residents of Cincinnati, OH prior to this.
On Monday, around 7:30PM I was alarmed by the sheer volume of smoke outside and in my home. I popped outside to be overcome with smoke. I donned a rag over my face and went to knock on my neighbor's doors to see if they were whole. Both were empty. As I went back towards my front door I saw the flames adjacent to my front door about 70 yards away. I panicked and ran inside, ungracefully shovelling my two cats into kennels and grabbing a backpack. In less than three minutes we were in the car and I was dialing my mother who was in Knoxville, letting her know the town was on fire and to hunker down where she was at. It never dawned on me as we left that it could be the final time I was to walk out that front door. I just saw it as taking my cats for a vacation. We are all very thankful to be safe and alive, but we only managed to save our cats and cars. Nothing else.
Don Daily was a 17 year maintenance veteran at the Tree Tops Resorts. If you ever drove past and saw the beautiful changing array of local flowers and plants, that was his handiwork. Don not only lost his home, but he lost his job at Tree Tops resort along with my mother when the entire facility burnt down displacing dozens of workers.
We made it out with the clothing on our backs. Currently the local government is fighting the fires and has blocked anyone in and outbound without police escorts and approval. We have no housing, clothing, food, or savings.
In 15 minutes, the fire spread 10 miles thanks to 87 mile per hour winds. The very concept would be an overly exaggerated work of fantasy in any other context but sadly, this displaced thousands of people. We will use the money to rebuild our lives, which is the best we can hope for.