The Holmes family joined the countless ranks of Tennessee citizens who lost their homes to a devestating wildfire last week. As the fire tore through the woods and into their neighborhood, Rob Holmes and his family were suddenly forced to evacuate.
There was no time to plan or coordinate, and the family was forced to leave too much behind. Rob described the chaotic scene, “All hell broke loose. The trees snapped and the power lines dangled over our driveway. We could not get the cars out and the smoke was so bad our 18-month son Wyatt was having a hard time breathing.”
The family managed to escape with their children, four dogs, and one cat. Unfortunately, they were unable to save their pig, Charles, and Rob’s daughter Andrea cried herself to sleep in their cramped hotel room.
The next morning Rob’s neighbor gave him a phone call with the worst possible news about his home; there was nothing left. The house was burned to the foundation with flames so hot they melted the aluminum hubcaps off the family car.
While Charles tried to come to terms with the heartbreaking news, his neighbor revealed something wonderful, Charles survived. The brave pig had buried himself in the ground and somehow survived the smoke and flames. When the family found him, Charles was exhausted, dehydrated, and suffered minor burns on his hooves.
“When I arrived … I couldn’t believe my eyes,” Holmes said. “Charles had burrowed in the mud to survive. The lord let us keep Charles. How else could he [have] survived 800 degree temperatures. The alloy rims were melted off the car.”
Charles was rushed to a large animal hospital where he was given fluids and first aid. He suffered from severe smoke inhalation, but was otherwise OK. His family showered him with love as he slowly recoveres in the hospital.