DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – As firefighters continue to battle Tennessee’s largest wildfire in 100 years, the death toll has now climbed to 7.
Ohio native Michael Reed is desperately trying to find his wife Constance and two daughter who went missing after the Gatlinburg wildfires destroyed his home. Reed moved to the volunteer state four years ago to work at Dollywood. His parents, Grant and Goral, currently live in the Miami Valley.
“We just don’t know what their status is right now,” father Grant Reed said.
The concerned grandfather of the two missing girls– 9 year old Lily and 12 year old Chloe– is praying they’re found soon.
“Beautiful grandchildren, love them. Wonderful little girls,” Reed said.
On Monday, Michael and his son went to the bottom of the mountain to find out which way the fire was moving. Stuck in traffic and unable to turn around, because officials had already started evacuating the area, Grant’s son Michael began to panic.
“The winds kicked up to 80 mph and his wife called him and said there’s flames across the street,” Reed said. “It took him an hour to get there and when he got there his house was totally in flames and he hasn’t found his wife or his girls.”
That was Monday night, since then deputies did an initial search of the area, but did not find the missing girls or their mom. They’ve even searched local shelters.
“We’re hoping that they were able to get north of there and get into another house and they’ve been waiting for somebody to come and rescues them,” Reed said. “This has been so very hard on all of us. Now it’s touched home and you know we all struggle. We want to know what happened to them. We want it to turn out good, but it’s not in our hands, so we wait.”
The Reeds, Grant and Coral, plan to head to Gatlinburg as soon as possible, once authorities in Tennessee allow access to the area again, to hopefully be reunited with all their grandchildren.