Domenica, 04 Dicembre, 2016

7 dead in Gatlinburg-area wildfires, dozens treated at hospitals

Wildfire forcing evacuations in near Gatlinburg Tenn Tennessee fires blaze into third day
Rufina Vignone | 02 Dicembre, 2016, 12:14

"I think it's fair to say that the search is winding down", Sevier County Mayor Larry Waters said.

"They had went to the point of having to sit down, we had some food".

At a vigil for victims, Waters said he expects an announcement at 9 p.m. but did not offer any details.

Almost 15,000 people were evacuated from Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge on Monday evening as winds caused smaller spot fires to spread through a larger swath of the Smoky Mountains and into the cities.

Then he lost the connection.

The fires first threatened neighborhoods Monday night.

Werner is staying at a friend's house while managing the crisis with other state and local leaders.

Thunderstorms dumped much-needed rain on eastern Tennessee overnight as thousands of people waited anxiously for news about their homes after wildfires tore through this resort community, killing at least seven people.

The last time Reed spoke to his wife he told her to call 911.

Police have not said if they have a suspect related to the Chimney Tops fire. I've called other shelters here, they said she isn't there. It's a hope echoed by several other families who say their loved ones in the Gatlinburg area are missing.

Of the four dead, the latest body was found today in a burned motel, officials said.

Yet the rain was also posing new challenges, creating small mudslides and rockslides, Gatlinburg Fire Chief Greg Miller said.

Over 14,000 people have been evacuated, and schools across the region have been closed.

Officials in the Gatlinburg welcomed the rain but were anxious about mudslides, rock slides and high winds knocking trees onto power lines, perhaps creating new fires similar to the deadly ones that sparked Monday night. But the stormy weather could also cause problems: Lightning strikes and winds - gusts up to 30 miles per hour are possible today - could spark more fires, and the downpour could prompt flash flooding.

Troopers walked into areas of Gatlinburg, Tn that were surrounded by fire to remove those who were trapped by flames.

Crews are now working to make the area safe for people to return home to check on their property and begin recovering and fire investigators have begun work on determining the cause of the blaze. Our hope is that she's at a neighbor's house right now watching the news, and knowing her family is looking for her.

"The road was on fire and every house was engulfed in flames".

Reed and his family were in their Gatlinburg-area home when word spread that fire was burning out of control nearby.

There were numerous new blazes overnight Tuesday, according to officials - a lot of them brush fires. In a span of 15 minutes, the fire chief said, emergency workers were alerted to nearly 20 burning buildings.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has set up a hotline (1-800-TBI-FIND) to coordinate reports of missing persons. The Sevier County wildfire is believed to be the largest fire in Tennessee in more than 100 years.

The number of evacuees sheltering at Red Cross locations dropped from 2,000 Monday night to 300 Tuesday night.

Bell said the area of Tennessee where most of the fires have been centered "is really attractive". The agency previously received reports that the facility was likely destroyed. Officials in Cocke and Sevier counties have canceled classes for Wednesday. Entire churches also disappeared, and the flames reached the doorstep of Dollywood, the theme park named after country music legend and local hero Dolly Parton. The park was spared any significant damage and will reopen Friday.

Parton said in a statement Tuesday that she was heartbroken.

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