The bodies were discovered during ongoing house-to-house searches in Gatlinburg and surrounding communities. – Gatlinburg Being Evacuated Due To Out Of Control Firestorm

Gatlinburg Being Evacuated Due To Out Of Control Firestorm

image by: Chris Higgins

Gatlinburg Being Evacuated Due To Out Of Control Firestorm

5:00 pm Tuesday


Three fatalities have been confirmed in Sevier County, TN. The bodies were discovered during ongoing house-to-house searches in Gatlinburg and surrounding communities. The names of the deceased will not be released until the families of the victims have been notified. Discovery of further dead bodies is possible as the various investigations and rescue efforts continue.

Gatlinburg Mayor Mike Werner: “We will rebuild.” Werner lost his home and his business of 31 years in the fires.

Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam said in a statement that the fires represented the state’s largest fire outbreak in the last 100 years. About 100 pieces of fire apparatus are on hand as well as approximately 400 firefighters working to put out lingering fires. At last report, there were 14 still active fires in the county.

The Governor has briefed President-elect Donald Trump and Vice President-Elect Mike Pence on the details of the disaster.

Gatlinburg Fire Department Chief Greg Miller said firefighters were encountering multiple downed trees and power poles that impeded their progress. Many roads cannot be opened until blockages are cleared.

Miller outlined these key facts:

• At least fourteen (14) patients have been hospitalized – most of which are believed to be in non-threatening status.

• Well over 100 structures have either been destroyed or significantly damaged.

• Winds up to 87 mph Monday fueled the firestorm along with countless downed electric power lines creating separate fires county-wide.

• Visibility in the area remains poor Monday afternoon. Many areas remain too smoky for emergency responders and house-to-house search parties to proceed.

• He promises EVERY home and business will be individually checked.

• Cellular and Wi-fi customers are being asked to greatly limit usage of their personal devices in order to free up bandwidth for emergency responder who are struggling to communicate.

• More high winds could move in late Tuesday and early Wednesday, further complicating firefighting efforts.

• Firefighters still are battling hotspots throughout the city and county.

Gatlinburg Being Evacuated Due To Out Of Control FirestormGatlinburg Being Evacuated Due To Out Of Control FirestormGatlinburg Being Evacuated Due To Out Of Control Firestorm

Gatlinburg Being Evacuated Due To Out Of Control Firestorm

Governor Haslam said in press conference that it was a “mini-miracle” that firefighters were able to keep the damage as ‘minimal’ as it was.

Gatlinburg emergency dispatchers are asking that people to refrain from calling 911 unless it’s a dire emergency. They are swamped with calls and are struggling to keep up with demand.

Knox County has provided a mobile unit from their forensic center to Sevier County. This will be used to attempt to identify the dead. It will also double as a mobile morgue since it can store bodies in a controlled environment.

Pigeon Forge has halted evacuations and most businesses there are now open.

120 Tennessee Army National Guard soldiers are set to arrive late Tuesday to help Sevier County Emergency Management Agency with transporting first responders. They’ll also be removing “light debris” and checking on residents affected by the fires. The soldiers are based in towns that range from Maryville to Newport to Knoxville.

Major General Max Haston, the Tennessee Adjutant General, stated in a news release:

“The Tennessee National Guard is uniquely qualified to not only fight our nation’s wars, but also to respond to emergency operations here at home. We are working closely with the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency, numerous other state agencies and the local responders in Sevier and surrounding counties to assist in whatever is required to save lives and property.”


 .  Live feed provided by: WBIR-TV .

Gatlinburg Being Evacuated Due To Out Of Control Firestorm


(provided by NBC Television affiliate WBIR)

Alamo Steakhouse: Destroyed

Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts: All buildings except Hughes Hall and Wild Wing survived with little damage.

Black Bear Falls: Earlier reports from TEMA said it was destroyed, but management has confirmed no damage

Buckberry Lodge: Says they are “currently assessing the situation and conditions of the lodge.” Currently unable to take reservations.

Carr’s Cottages: No known damage as of Tuesday morning

Chalet Village: Suffered damage, but not destroyed

Chapel at the Park: Intact. More info here.

CLIMB Works: Intact

Cobbly Knob area: About 70 homes destroyed

Cupid’s Chapel of Love: Destroyed, more info on their Facebook page

Deer Ridge Mountain Resort: Intact

Dollywood: Several cabins damaged or destroyed. DreamMore resort not damaged. Dollywood park has some wind damage but no damage from fire. Park will be closed Wednesday.

Downtown Gatlinburg: Intact

Elkmont: Intact

Gatlinburg-Pittman High School: Not damaged

Hillbilly Golf: Buildings intact, some damage to the golf course.

Highland Condominiums: Views from the air indicate very heavy damage

Honeymoon Hills: Intact.

LeConte Lodge: Intact

Little Log Wedding Chapel: Intact

Mysterious Mansion: Unknown– conflicting reports earlier said it was destroyed, but that may not be the case. Follow their Facebook page for further updates.

Ober Gatlinburg: Intact

Park Vista hotel: Intact

Parrot Mountain: Intact

Pi Beta Phi Elementary School: Intact (Suffered some minor wind and smoke damage)

Pittman Center Elementary School: Not damaged

Ripley’s Aquarium: Intact. Biologists at the aquarium confirm the animals are OK.

The Island: Completely untouched by fire.

Tree Tops Resort: They know some of their buildings have been destroyed. They said it is possible some may not have been, but they have not been able to return yet.

Wear’s Valley area: About 70 homes destroyed

Westgate Resort: Several cabins damaged. Main check-in building is just a skeleton.


Original Story: Monday, November 28th

Gatlinburg Being Evacuated Due To Out Of Control Firestorm

Gatlinburg Being Evacuated Due To Out Of Control Firestorm

Gatlinburg Being Evacuated Due To Out Of Control Firestorm

If you thought the various fires across Cullman County today have been challenging. They are comparatively nothing to those fires currently active in and around Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, TN this evening.

The City of Gatlinburg and surrounding communities are currently being evaluated due to several large wildfires stoked by up to 70 mph straight line winds.

One of those fires, a roaring 500-acre fire is directly threatening structures in downtown Gatlinburg. Emergency response officials have ordered mandatory evacuations in the city. Roads along the nearby Great Smoky Mountains National Park have been closed.

According to Dana Soehn with the National Park Service:

“It’s very dangerous weather conditions. We’ve had trees coming down, limbs coming down and the fire is continuing to grow.”

Residents have been evacuated to a Red Cross shelter at the Gatlinburg Community Center, while Rocky Top Sports World has also been converted into a shelter.

Arson is believed causal in the genesis of the fires which started over the weekend.

In this video, you can see guests at the Park Vista Hilton hotel clearly endangered by fire, a young lady traveling along a gauntlet of fire along The Spur, an American flag being whipped by strong winds and the streets of Gatlinburg thick with traffic from evacuees and emergency vehicles.

The National Weather Service out of Morristown, TN made this announcement at 8:25 pm Cullman time:

“Nobody is allowed into the city at this time. Evacuate immediately and follow any instructions from emergency officials.”

Sharon Pinyan departing Gatlinburg reports:

“Evacuated Gatlinburg. A car behind us caught on fire due to the flames jumping the road.”

There are dozens of fire dozers and countless firefighters from various departments working these fires.

Gatlinburg Being Evacuated Due To Out Of Control Firestorm

Staff Writers

The staff writers at Cullman Today are a collaborative group of citizen reporters sharing the writing of stories based upon their personal interests and work schedules.

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