Wildfires scorched Gatlinburg, Tennessee this past December. The flames virtually destroyed this well-regarded tourist town, injuring 175 people and taking the lives of 14, according to CNN.
A wife and her two daughters of Tennessee resident Michael Reed were among those who lost their lives in the tragedy.
While originally thought to be an accident, two teens have since been taken into custody and charged with deliberately setting the fires.
The pair could is facing up to 60 years in prison if they are convicted. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that many of the victims and their families hope to see the boys receive the maximum punishment for their crimes.
One Gatlinburg resident told CNN News, “If in fact they did set the fire, and they did it on purpose, I cannot think of a punishment severe enough for them.”
Michael Reed’s response has a bit of a different tone.
In a letter shared on Facebook, the grieving father addressed the suspected arsonists:
This message of love is incredibly powerful in the light of incredibly difficult circumstances.
When Michael was asked how he is grieving such a tragic loss, he responded that he “can feel his daughters touch him from heaven.”
Michael is pictured below with then 12-year-old daughter, Lily.
These photos tell the story of a man that loved his family dearly and will continue to do so. This is a recent photo of Michael with then 9-year-old daughter Chloe.
The Independent Journal Review reported that Michael’s wife called him frantically as the flames approached the couple’s home. It was the last time that the two would ever speak to each other.
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