Gatlinburg fire victims return home

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GATLINBURG, Tenn. -- "At one point I thought we were going to die because of my stepdad and a few others said we have to get out of here we're not dying here."

Brittany Castle and Kelly Regean told WREG's Kristen Holloway they were trapped in their Gatlinburg homes for five hours.

With fire ripping through the houses below them, Kelly figured there was no way out, so she started sending messages to her family saying goodbye.

"I went on messenger and I just told them all that I loved them. That's pretty much it. I told them I loved them and I'm sorry but I'm not going to make it."

The worst of the wildfire is over, but devastation continues for people returning home and to their businesses only to see ashes.

Bob Waikel owns Ski Mountain Chalet and Foot Hills Realtor in Gatlinburg. Both were destroyed.

"The important thing is I'm here, all my employees are here and we're safe. Material things are tough to handle but we're going to make it and we're going to come back bigger and better."

Despite the tragedy they're dealing with so many are staying strong. They're resilient and they're looking toward the future.