Calif. Wildfires Strike Close To Home For East Tennessee Family

Knoxville (WVLT) -- For at least one East Tennessee family, the fires hit too close to home.

Sevier County native Sabrina Cooper lives near where the fires are burning, but her family hasn't heard from her all week.

What’s tearing their hearts out is that they don’t know if she's hurt, missing, or just fine.

Randy Conner hugs his wife Belinda as she cries for their 36 year old daughter who lives in the San Bernardino, California area.

“I'm worried scared,” Belinda Conner said.

They haven't heard from daughter Sabrina since the wildfires began a week ago, evacuating 500,000 people from their homes.

“I don't know if she's trapped in the fire,” Belinda said.

Sabrina moved from Sevierville for the first time just this year because her husband transferred with his company.

Her parents have been watching the news non stop and praying their oldest daughter is not one of the 12 people killed in the blazes.

“We're trying to keep busy with lots of praying,” her mom said.

It tears Belinda apart being so far away and not being able to do anything to get in touch with her first born.

Sabrina's brother David Johnson is also worried because he can't travel out west to help find her.
“I can't just get up and leave, its 3,000 miles away,” he said, “it's hard.”

But Red Cross officials say there is a reconnection service the Conner family and others can use to locate their loved one.

“There is a website, www.Redcross.org, that you can go on line and it will show if they're okay,” said Boyd Romines from the Knoxville Area Red Cross.

Belinda is registering and hopes that it will help her find her missing daughter, but until then, she says they will be worried until they hear from her.

The Conner family isn't the only family in East Tennessee affected by the West Coast wildfires.

On Sunday we're going to talk to a local pastor who has a granddaughter in the San Diego area who's been displaced by the blazes.

We'll also talk with his granddaughter.
She's going to tell us what it was like when she had to evacuate her home leaving all her belongings.

And we'll show you what she saw as she returned to her neighborhood.


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