WEARS VALLEY, TENN. - It was a narrow escape for the Bryant family out of their Wears Valley home Monday night.
Officials say about 70 homes have been destroyed in the Wears Valley community, including the Bryants'.
Chasslene, Jonathan, their four kids and two dogs made it out of the home, but when they were getting ready to evacuate, their two cats couldn’t be found in time to escape.
“My husband was running downstairs, he was screaming, ‘Get in the car, get in the car!’” Chasslene Bryant said.
When they family returned home on Tuesday, they were greeted by destruction.
“We kind of expected it, but your mind can’t see it any other way until you see it,” Chasslene said.
Their home had burned to the ground. They've lived in the Wears Valley community for about five years but had just moved into this house in June.
The family found one of their cats on Tuesday and went back to their Hidden Lake Estates home again on Wednesday to search for their remaining missing pet.
“We got one yesterday and we came back for him today, and here he is!" Chasslene said, turning to her husband, who held the wet cat in a pink blanket. "He’s shocked. He’s really shocked."
The cat’s name is “Awesome.”
“He used to walk when he was a kitten on his hind legs and that’s how he got his name, because he did all these awesome things,” Chasslene said.
This cat has done awesome things all his life – including surviving a wildfire.
“I was scared when it happened. I was crying,” 10-year-old Miracle Bryant said.
The family is feeling better now that they have all of their pets back.
Their home may be gone, but the Bryants find themselves counting their blessings.
“I don’t even own a spoon. I don’t own a toothbrush, but these babies, my family, you know, I have them, and to me, I feel lucky,” Chasslene said. “I don’t care what was in there. I have them and I have this community.”
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