Rincon pastor's mother killed in Gatlinburg wildfires

RINCON, GA (WTOC) - (Update: Nov. 30 at 10:35 p.m.):  A Rincon pastor's mother, who had been missing in Gatlinburg since Monday evening, has been found deceased.

Alice Hagler's body was located in the ruins of her home on Wednesday.

Pastor Lyle Wood provided this statement:

It's with a very heavy heart that we have to announce that our mother was found in the ruins of her home, her life taken by a devastating fire that impacted so many lives in East Tennessee and will continue to for some time to come. We are forever grateful for the outpouring of love and support we have experienced from so many people around the nation that have heard our story and reached out to help. A very special thank you to all of the police, firefighters, first responders, forest rangers, dispatchers, sheriff's officers and highway patrol officers that have all put their lives in danger to support this region and community. Alice Hagler will be missed by many until we can see her again. Grace and Peace, the Wood family.

"I believe that Alice felt that she was OK and she was just experiencing some strong winds, and I don't believe she knew at all that the fire was that close," said Rachel Wood, Alice's daughter-in-law.


Pastor Lyle Wood of Compassion Christian Church told WTOC on Wednesday his family last heard from Alice Hagler on the phone Monday, when she said her house was on fire.

He said they are holding out hope she made it to safety.

"It's as difficult as it was for us during the hurricane.  First responders and firefighters, police officers, sheriff's office, everyone is doing their very best just like they did for us in Savannah.  So, we know it's a difficult process but our hope is, that she's still alive," said Pastor Wood.

He says they are searching shelters and trying to get in touch with neighbors and just praying she made it out of the house and to safety.

"We're still hopeful right now that maybe she's in a shelter that hasn't been found or she hasn't been registered in a shelter somewhere.  Maybe she's with a friend or a neighbor that saw her and decided to take her in.  So, we're still hopeful for that," Pastor Wood said.

He said he is very grateful for all of the support and prayers he is getting from folks back here at home.

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