VIDEO: First look at Downtown Gatlinburg after fire

FEMA to reimburse funds for fighting fire

still1129_00031

Click here to view more videos on the WATE 6 On Your Side news app.

Confirmed damage to buildings

  • Westgate Resorts
  • Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Cabins
  • Mysterious Mansion of Gatlinburg
  • Black Bear Falls
  • Westgate Resorts
  • Houses and apartments on Sky View Drive
  • Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts
  • Former Dennis Bolze mansion

GATLINBURG (WATE) – Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA) estimates more than 14,000 residents and visitors evacuated.

A temporary flight restriction has been placed over the area to help first responders. TEMA believes Westgate Resorts is mostly gone, with more than 100 buildings destroyed. Black Bear Falls has lost almost every cabin.

TEMA said the 16-story hotel is on Regan Drive. They also said Driftwood Apartments are reportedly fully-involved near the Park Vista Hotel.

The fire comes after strong winds caused a wildfire on Chimney Top Mountain in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park to spread rapidly onto private property in the city of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge.

Evacuations are underway for Downtown Gatlinburg, Mynatt Park, Park Vista and Ski Mountain in Gatlinburg, and for the south part of Pigeon Forge close to Sevierville. A wildfire is also at the edge of Dollywood property.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is allowing federal funds to reimburse the cost of fighting the fire. Seventy-five percent of the costs will be reimbursed.

“We will continue to work closely with state and local responders who are on the frontlines of this fire fight,” said FEMA Regional Administrator Gracia B. Szczech.  “FEMA approved these funds to ensure they have every available resource.”

The grant was requested Monday night at 11 p.m. Federal funds are provided through the President’s Disaster Relief Fund.

More: Evacuation information


Dean Flener with the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency said emergency crews are being deployed to Gatlinburg to help with the wildfires. He also said they are working with the National Guard to clear the roads.

“We have had the state of emergency center evacuated in Nashville since the start of these wildfires many days ago. We are in full activation mode tonight trying to coordinate resources with Sevier County, to get resources, fire apparatuses into the county to help them in the response to these wildfires. We’re also working with the National Guard to get personnel in there to clear these roads,” said Fleener.

Flener said one thing he asks is the people in Sevier County to stay off their phones, unless they are making emergency calls. He says emergency communication is a huge part of what TEMA does. Everything is now over networks and networks can get inundated.

“We have seen an inundation of the mobile lines, especially on the Verizon system, and it would be a great help, unless they’re making emergency calls, to please stay off their Verizon phones and their mobile devices and all of their devices and even other mobile carriers as well and that would be a big help to emergency responders and between emergency responders.,” said Flener.

TEMA said that Tennessee’s Fire Mutual Aid system is coordinating the arrival of 50 to 60 fire apparatuses from local departments around from as far north as Greenville and as far south as McMinn County.

Tennessee Department of Health is also coordinating to send medical units from surrounding counties to assist with any medical transports.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s