Gatlinburg Fire Damage Reports
11/30/16 8:30PM Update: There have now been 7 deaths as a result of the fires in the Gatlinburg area. Over 700 structures have been affected. More rain arrived this morning but some areas are still smoldering. Our ride thru Wears Valley made the devastation real. Many homes burned to the ground, trees down, power lines down. Some houses still smoldering while right across the road other homes completely untouched. Spoke with many people who lived in the area. One man was at the RV park. His home is more than likely burned down. He lived on Ski Mountain where the devastation was especially bad. He and his wife got out with just minutes to spare. He said on Monday night about 8:30PM he was at home and noticed embers flying by his house. The a huge fireball went by and he and his wife got in their truck and raced down the mountain after using his truck to move a fallen truck that was blocking their road. There are still missing individuals that families are extremely worried about. Search and rescue continues by the fire fighters, police and other agencies involved. Police cars and fire truck sirens continue to fly by the hotels here in Pigeon Forge headed toward Gatlinburg. Some good news today was three people were found alive! Today as we drove down Pigeon Forge Parkway numerous trucks passed us were truckloads of cases of water and other much needed supplies. AT&T trucks from NJ and Georgia are arriving with mobile cell towers. News agencies are warning people to limit cell phone use and wifi use because service in the area is so overwhelmed. Gatlinburg is still blocked off to access due to unsafe conditions and search and rescue missions that continue. It is a sad situation but the spirit of the people here are truly amazing! Keep them in your prayers.
How to Help:
The Gatlinburg Relief Fund has been established at SmartBank. Donations can be dropped off at any location or mailed to:
Gatlinburg Relief Fund
P.O. Box 1910
Pigeon Forge, TN 37868
Call 865-453-2650 for more information.
Also The Red Cross is accepting monetary donations. People can make a $10 donation by texting “REDCROSS” to 90999.
From WBIR “Do you want to show support for Sevier County fire victims and contribute to their relief?
A “Smokies Strong” T-shirt is the way to go. The Knoxville News Sentinel is teaming up with WBIR-TV, Channel 10, to support the initiative.
Buy a T-shirt for $15, and the proceeds will be donated to the American Red Cross to aide those affected by this week’s devastating wildfire.
The charcoal grey shirts are available in adult and youth sizes. They feature a map of Tennessee, an image of the Smoky Mountains, a heart, and the “Smokies Strong” message.
Due an influx of demand right now, it appears the website has crashed. If you want to order now you can call 865-862-1461 or e-mail Customerservice@shgstores.com. Sorry for the inconvenience and hopefully the online site will be fixed soon.”
Great Smoky Mountains Guide is here in Pigeon Forge with a first hand report of the Gatlinburg fire damage. Smoke is still seen in the distance from Pigeon Forge looking toward Gatlinburg. You can see a lot of smoke settled in the valleys and smell the smoke in the air. Helicopters with huge buckets are in the air over the mountains toward Gatlinburg. Sirens on the main road thru Pigeon Forge are heard constantly with fire trucks, police cars, power company trucks and military vehicles all over the place. Crews are parked at restaurants and hotels all over Pigeon Forge eating and getting some much-needed rest.
Over 10,000 are without power in Sevier County. There was heavy fire damage in Gatlinburg and in Wears Valley. About 70 houses in Wears Valley have been destroyed. Another 70 homes were destroyed in Gatlinburg. There have been 15 homes in Pigeon Forge that were destroyed. Tree Tops Resort in Gatlinburg has been burned down, Mysterious Mansion was destroyed, some buildings at Arrowmont School have been destroyed. The Alamo Steakhouse in Gatlinburg was destroyed. Park Vista Hotel remains intact in spite of video last night that showed flames near the building. LeConte Lodge and the Elkmont cabins are reportedly OK but the Elkmont cbins did receive some damage from falling trees. The high winds-some gust over 86mph last night contributed to spreading the fire as well as toppling trees. The toppled tress brought down power lines and the downed power lines started more fires official explained.
There have been 3 reported deaths. One was a local man from the nearby city of Alcoa. He was a line worker that was killed Monday night. He died after being hit by a falling tree while working in the area. Other information has not been made public. Several people were treated at the local hospital for minor injuries or breathing problems.
School was cancelled today and has been cancelled again for Wednesday. Dollywood is closed and will reopen on Friday. The theme park was not damaged by fire but there was some wind damage reported at the park. Part of DreamMore Resort had to be evaluated last night but the resort was not damaged. Thousands of people are in area shelters in Pigeon Forge. Many have lost there homes and or their businesses. Local residents say they have never in their life seen anything like this here.
Rain was a welcome this morning but tonight there are still some fires burning. More rain is on the way but before the rain the winds will pickup again. Officials are concerned about the winds tonight and how it might spread and cause more fires tonight before the heavy rains start.