GATLINBURG, Tenn. (WATE) — Jamie Hall and her husband took their five kids and two German Shepard puppies on vacation from Florida to visit the Gatlinburg area, but it was unlike any trip they had ever taken before.
While they were staying at the Greenbrier Campground in Gatlinburg, it flooded causing hundreds to evacuate. They say one decision made during the storm may have saved their lives.
“We were going to lay the seats down in our van, we were going to put four of our kids in the back of the van to sleep and my husband and myself and our littlest one were going to sleep in the back of the Blazer we had there,” Hall said.
This was their initial plan after a downpour of rain made it impossible to sleep in their tent, however, this was before all that water rushed through the campground sweeping away tents and cars.
“Honestly I was just scared,” Hall said. “That was the scariest thing I’ve ever experienced in my life.”
The scariest part of it all for Hall was the thought of a choice the family could have made. The group almost chose to go to bed in their vehicles, but instead, they headed to the campground’s bathhouse. The next day, they found their cars destroyed.
“It was upside down, smashed all to pieces. So I think that was the scariest thing for us in the moment is to realize that our kids were–we were almost asleep in there,” Hall said. “I don’t know if we would have had enough notice to get out,” she said.
Nonetheless, through the things they lost, Hall and her family remain grateful.
“It didn’t even cross our mind that, that would happen. So it’s just such an amazing reminder of God’s goodness and just people helping one another out,” Hall said.
TDEC estimated that 20 vehicles were in the water during the high water peak. All vehicles identified by Sevier County EMA have been removed from the water.
The Hall family has a GoFundMe, but they have been thankful for those who have already helped them until they are able to get back home to Florida.