Family remembers Sevier County fire victim Alice Hagler

The family of Gatlinburg fire victim Alice Hagler discusses how they're dealing with her death. (12/1/16)

GATLINBURG - Family members have confirmed that 70-year-old Alice Hagler is one of the ten people who died in the Sevier County fires this week.

Hagler’s son, James Wood, said that he was notified Wednesday night by authorities of her death.

"Her pain in this world is over she's in a better place now," Wood said. 

She was last heard from on Monday when she was on the phone with her son around 8:30 p.m. and the phone disconnected.

"My mother called me frantically that the house was on fire, yelling that the house was on fire, and I told her to get out of the house," Wood said.

Wood said he was working when he received the phone call. He lived with his mother in the Chalet Village area on Piney Butt Loop in Gatlinburg.

He raced up the burning mountain, trying to reach her home. When flames finally blocked the road, a stranger turned him around. He believes if he'd gone any further - he wouldn't have made it. 

"I just remember his eyes the look on his face saying im not leaving you, I'll help you turn around. You're coming down. Just thank you. Thank for you thinking of me when I couldn't think for myself. A godsend," Wood recalled.

But even in his grief now, he says it's better to know and have some closure. 

"For me it's somwthing to put me at comfort its made it easier than wondering if she was out there and just couldn't get to me," he said. 

She was discovered in their burned down cabin.

Wood said his mother had two hip replacements and did not move around very well.

Now he wants to honor his mother's memory and thank the fire crews that tried to reach her and so many others. 

"When I was turning around and couldn't go any further, they were still rushing in, they were doing what no one else could and what no one else would."

10News had received messages from friends concerned about her whereabouts since Tuesday, and had listed Hagler among those missing after the fires.

 

(© 2016 WBIR)


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