Gatlinburg residents see destroyed homes for first time

Posted at 3:23 PM, Dec 13, 2016

The city of Gatlinburg, Tennessee, allowed people forced to evacuate due to the deadly fire back inside the city to check on their businesses and homes first hand. Some residents didn’t have much left to see.

It’s a new definition of house cleaning. Instead of sweeping or mopping, these Gatlinburg residents are combing through metal and ashes.

"We knew it was gone," says Rachel Hodges. "We knew roughly what we were coming into but still it's still hard."

It’s the first time Rachel Hodges and the others on this quiet street have seen their homes since deadly fires burned through the city.

"Surreal does not really capture the feeling that we have," says Glen Trentham.

Glen and his wife Mary Trentham looked at the home they had retired in, in disbelief.

"It hurts," Glen Trentham says. "It's like a death," Mary Threntham adds. "It's just like you've lost something and is the memories and all of our pictures and family a family bible that were here that we didn't grab before we left."

Glen Trentham grew up in this house, and when his parents passed it to him, he and Mary added not only more memories but more rooms.

"I wanted it simple and straightforward," Glen Trentham recalls. "And that's what it ended up being I think. And it hurts."

While it’s hard to talk about this new reality, there’s still determination to create a new one.

"You’ve got to make another life," Mary Trentham says. "And that's what we'll do."