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Gatlinburg attraction's owners aren't sure if their building survived

People who escaped the fast-moving wildfire that came scorching through Gatlinburg at nearly 90 miles per hour keep using the same word to describe it: Hell.

"There was fire everywhere. It was like we were in hell," Linda Monholland told the Associated Press. "Walking through hell, that's what it was. I can't believe it. I never want to see something like that again in my life, ever."

"Hell opened up," said Sissy Stinnett, her colleague at Park View Inn in Gatlinburg, from which they had to flee on foot.

A different sort of hell surrounds the owners of the Mysterious Mansion - billed as "Gatlinburg's oldest and scariest haunted attraction." They don't know if the building survived or not.

MORE: Gatlinburg aquarium gives an update on animals after wildfires rip through town

Dolly Parton grieves at wildfire damage

"We are devastated to announce that it was confirmed to us that Mysterious Mansion was lost to the Gatlinburg wildfires," the property said via social media on Tuesday. "We will let you know more when we do. As far as I know they are not letting people back in to Gatlinburg yet since the mandatory evacuation. It was an amazing 36 years and we want to thank you all for being a part of it."

A few hours later, there was a more hopeful update: "So we've been getting conflicting reports. The news and eyewitnesses last night are saying the mansion was destroyed. But now we have been getting reports that it still stands. We have not been able to get into town to see with our own eyes because of the evacuations. So Please stay tuned within the next few days. And we will let you all know as soon as we can into town. Thank you all for the kind words and support during this tragic situation."

The most recent post is a photo showing the venerable attraction shrouded in haze but still standing and apparently undamaged. But they haven't been able to check it out so aren't yet entirely sure.

Please return for updates.

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Jennifer Brett is a multiplatform journalist and digital coach. She writes The Buzz blog for

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