What started off as a weekend family trip to Gatlinburg turned into a surreal experience for the Cohron family from Wyoming.
Parnell, his wife Raven and son PJ were in the middle of the blaze as flames in the mountains surrounded the highway.
He told FOX19 NOW, he and his family were out towards Pigeon Forge where the smoke wasn’t bad. It wasn’t until they came back towards Gatlinburg that the chaos of cars trapped in traffic jams began.
“We started driving in and the wind was really bad and the smoke was coming out at us,” Cohron said from his home in Wyoming.
FOX19 NOW interviewed him and his family after they had only been home for a few hours, and he said his clothes, “still smelled like smoke.”
The family never made it back to their condo and instead stopped at a hotel. That’s where they saw others trying to leave the area.
They spoke to an emergency worker who told them to go back towards the road surrounded by the fiery mountains in order to escape the mayhem of the moment.
Cohron said that was not happening.
A downed power line on their escape route slowed things down a bit. The family was stuck along with several other cars on the highway for about 45 minutes until finally the power line was removed.
Cohron said despite everything that happened, he does plan to return once everything goes back to normal.
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