Holding Out Hope Amid the Tennessee Flames

Heartbreaking search continues for a mom and two daughters

Husband and father Michael Reed is desperate to locate his wife and two daughters after they went missing during the Tennessee wildfire that swept through his hometown of Gatlinburg.

A friend drove to his Chalet Village home on Tuesday to check on the house and confirmed it had been destroyed, the Knoxville News Sentinel reported. Reed told the publication that the sheriff’s office also did a sweep of his house twice yesterday, and there were no signs of his missing family.

“I have picked this apart. It would have been best for them to go up the mountain because it was pretty bad going down,” said Reed.

“I just hate to hear this,” Jim Purcell, 78, of Columbia, Maryland, told LifeZette. Purcell found out Wednesday that his Gatlinburg “Westlake” timeshare resort had also been destroyed by the raging wildfires. “I know many are praying for them.”

“They are up there now with an arson team doing a full sweep, and that’s what I’m waiting on right now,” Reed told the Sentinel Wednesday.

Reed’s wife, Constance, and his daughters — Chloe, 12, and Lily, 9 — have been missing after possibly evacuating their home on Wiley Oakley Drive on Monday evening.

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“I spoke with them at 8:15 p.m. They said there were flames across the street. I told them to call 911 and get out, and that was the last I heard from them,” Reed told the Sentinel.

He and his son Nicholas, 15, were in Gatlinburg at the time, and evacuated to LeConte Center in Pigeon Forge. On Tuesday, he and his son moved to a hotel provided by the Red Cross.

“There is a rumor there are people stuck at Ober Gatlinburg. I am hoping they are there. I have picked this apart and it would have been best for them to go up the mountain because it was pretty bad going down,” he said. For now, Reed and his son are clinging to hope.

Related: Dolly Parton “Heartbroken” Over Smoky Mountain Wildfires

“Yesterday, the sheriff’s office said they were not there [at the residence]. I think that’s a good sign,” he said.

Four have been killed so far in the massive wildfires. Authorities have not given the identities of those killed, but said they perished in separate incidents. Three were found in North Chalet Village, and the fourth was found in a hotel off U.S. Highway 321 that had been burned by the wildfires, said the Sentinel.

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