Rebuilding brings neighbors together following deadly firestorm

By  | 

SEVIER COUNTY, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Dean Cato spends his days working from sun up to sun down rebuilding his home that was burned from the wildfires on Cliff Branch Road.

"It's been a long year. It's been the longest year of my life," Cato explained.

The long year was spent rebuilding his home by hand after the deadly firestorm on November 28, 2016, left it in ashes.

The structure of the home is now finished, so Cato began tackling the inside of the home. His homeschooled son, Brady, helps him during the day and returns to his studies at night.

Brady told Local 8 News Reporter Lauren Davis he still remembers running from the wildfire.

We just left. I still remember seeing neighbors houses burning, drove over tree burning," Brady reflected.

The Catos aren't the only ones rebuilding their home. Some neighbors started construction, but many lots still sit empty.

"I think some folks got their insurance and decided it wasn't worth the hassle to rebuild," Cato said.

The one year mark after the wildfires is something Cato said he would like to forget. But, Cato said there's one good thing that came out of all of the pain.

"The best thing is I've got to meet my neighbors like I didn't know before," Cato explained.