GATLINBURG (WATE) – Scott Frederick, an employee at Westgate Smoky Mountain Resort, shared stunning photos of the aftermath of the fires in Gatlinburg.
“Imagine the sheer amount of heat required to liquefy aluminum rims, or a block,” said Frederick. “I can only imagine the inferno that was here when I took these pics.”
According to EngineeringToolBox.com, aluminum will liquefy at 1221 degrees Fahrenheit.
WATE 6 On Your Side received video of flames shooting from the cabins, which are located on the Parkway leading into Gatlinburg. Many of the villas at the resort are made out of logs.
Five hundred people were evacuated by staff from the resort. One couple was stuck in an elevator and had to be rescued by crews from the English Mountain and Greene County Fire Departments.
“It took eight crews to go up to find them,” said Frederick. “They called 9-1-1, said they were in an elevator in the fire and at a resort there is a bazillion elevators.”
The couple was on the third floor. Rescuers were eventually able to find them and get them to safety.
Governor Bill Haslam shared a photo of the resort that he took from a Blackhawk helicopter. He called the images from the fire “numbing.”
Frederick said the good news is that about a third of the 1,000 units at the resort are unscathed. He said the resort’s owners plan to rebuild and plan to be up and running in a couple weeks before Christmas.
Westgate Resorts issued an official statement:
“A massive forest fire in and around the City of Gatlinburg has prompted an evacuation of the surrounding area. Our property, the Westgate Smoky Mountain Resort, has sustained some damage and will be closed until further notice. At this time, there have been no reported injuries at the resort. We will post updates to our website as more information becomes available. At this time, we are asking everyone to join us in their thoughts and prayers for our team members, our brave first responders and entire community.”