TRENTON, Ky. - A Kentucky family wasn't in East Tennessee when the Sevier County wildfire broke out, but they watched their cabin burn from miles away through the surveillance cameras.
Several times a year, the Allen family traveled east to one of their two homes in the Smokies. For Sarah, it was truly a place to get away and relax. "I think one of the first things I did was always just go out onto the deck and look," she explained.
However, their most recent pictures tell a much different story, one of heartbreak and loss.
"It's not just the cabins I lost, I mean the park is burnt and that's the reason we have our cabins there is because we like the park," Sarah said.
On Monday, they received an alarm. Their smoke detector was going off. Chris went online to look at their security footage.
"You could see smoke, but I've logged in the past couple days, you've seen smoke there. It's been smoky," said Chris.
The cameras that once captured a black bear and her cubs roaming across their yard now showed a much different image. "It was raining fire," Chris said.
With every passing minute, each camera showed what the Allens never thought possible, hundreds of miles away all they could do was watch as their beloved home burned down. "It was surrounded by fire. At that moment I was sitting there thinking it's going to go. There's nothing Gatlinburg can do about it," Chris recalled.
They may have lost everything there, but it's the little things that always mean the most. "My little girl's hiking stick, she walked her first hike six miles and we left it there. I'm assuming it's gone. Maybe it's not, maybe it got spared," Sarah said in tears.
Just a few hours after watching their first home burn, a security agency called with news that alarms were going off at their second home more than a mile away. The Allens assume it's a total loss. They plan to visit as soon as they can to assess the damage.