WEARS VALLEY, Tenn. (WATE) — One couple is looking back after their home was destroyed in the wildfires in Sevier County.
The wildfires have impacted at least 200 structures and caused evacuations of 11 thousand of homes. Many of those people didn’t know if they were going to be able to come back to their homes still standing.
Jenna and Joshua Madore said they learned a lot from the 2016 Gatlinburg wildfires and got out of the area as soon as they could. They moved to the Wears Valley at the same time as the wildfires were burning in 2016. This time around, they said they knew to take this fire seriously.
“The location was the biggest thing because the house was terrible,” Joshua laughed. “But we rebuilt everything from scratch.”
Jenna said their favorite part of their fixer-upper was the view from their living room, “We had just finished the master bathroom, the whole front of the house had floor to ceiling windows and we just redid all of the windows.”
On Wednesday that view became a vision of terror as they saw smoke and flames making their way toward them.
“We grabbed stuff and ran in like ten minutes,” said Jenna.
“We got some clothes, I had some cash saved up in my safe and that was pretty much it,” added Joshua.
Jenna’s mom, Cheryl Eakin says this brought her back to 2016 during the Gatlinburg Fires.
“Anybody who’s been through any of it knows to get out. You don’t wait.”
This time, they weren’t sure what they were coming back to.
“We were kind of hopeful because the surrounding structures were saved. We think that the reason ours wasn’t saved was because of our driveway,” said Jenna.
When they were able to go home, they dreaded going back up their long steep driveway to see the damage.
“It’s surreal, it doesn’t feel real, you know, that three, four days ago and now its…,” Jenna said standing around the rubble unable to finish her sentence.
Their fixer-upper now needs to be rebuilt from the ground up.
Joshua said, “we dug through it a little bit but I don’t think anything is really salvageable.”
They’ll miss that view from the wrap-around windows in their living room but that view may have just saved their lives.
Joshua added, “if we can rebuild we will.”
The Madores are staying with some friends at the moment. They say the support from their friends and the whole community has been overwhelming.