North Alabama families impacted by Gatlinburg fires

North Alabama families impacted by Gatlinburg fires

LIMESTONE COUNTY, AL (WAFF) - Many North Alabamians are included in the thousands evacuated out of Gatlinburg.

Vacations, getaways, and even honeymoons, all up-ended.

A Limestone County couple is on their honeymoon in Gatlinburg.

Monday afternoon they got to their cabin, and Keith West told WAFF 48 it was a little hazy but nothing to worry about. When they left their cabin for downtown Gatlinburg for dinner just a couple hours later,

West says visibility was extremely minimal. He said it was like driving through a ghost town, and when they finally figured out what was happening, they had to evacuate immediately.

"When we get downtown it was dark, and like the most dense fog you can imagine, expect it was smoke," West said. "Just a lot of destruction from the fires. I guess we'll find out more what was damaged in a little while. We found out where our cabin is and that we can possibly get to it so we're actually about to try to go it and get our belongings," he said.

The Wests were able to go back to their cabin and get all their belongings, but others weren't as lucky.

We know lots of folks in the area vacation in the Smoky Mountains, and that includes Limestone County's Charles Morrison. But mere hours ago, his family's second home burned to the ground.

"We've had it for 11 years. So it had become pretty special for us. A special place in our hearts," Morrison said.

But today, nothing is left of that special place -- except the foundation. Monday night Morrison's cabin neighbors called to tell him what was happening.

"They called fire units but they could not respond due to overwhelming demand," he said.  

Morrison said he still can't wrap his head around it. "Right now I feel like I'm walking around in a cloud, like it's not really real," he said.

But Morrison said his loss is just property -- it can be replaced. He's worried about others.

"At the same time you're thinking, 'I don't know how bad it is up there. I don't know if there's people missing, if everyone's been accounted for. My heart aches," he said.

Morrison said he and his family still have a place to sleep at tonight, but others who call Gatlinburg home, may not be as lucky.

"I'm heartbroken because of what happened in the area. There could be loss of life we don't know about. My heart goes out to all the folks out there who are experiencing this in their back yard right now," he said.

Copyright 2016 WAFF. All rights reserved.