The death toll has risen to four from widespread fire in Sevier County. Early Wednesday morning, officials confirmed that within the past two days, hundreds of homes and other structures were destroyed by a devastating fire that is ravishing the area.
The local police department has confirmed that a fourth body was found on the outskirt of the city at the Travelers Motel on highway 321.
In a press conference on Wednesday, Mayor Larry Waters of Sevier County have confirmed that officials were unable to identify the four people who have died. He also stated that their top priority is finding individuals that were reported missing as well as trying to identify those who had lost their lives in this deadly disaster.
Mr. Waters also added that a team of highly skilled first responders is currently helping to remove large amounts of debris, to make it easier to assess the damage and search for survivors. In addition, he also stated that the sudden downpour of rain is of great significance, as it will greatly assist firefighters in their fire fighting effort.
The mayor has offered his condolences to the families of those who lost loved ones as well as those who lost their homes and other properties. He also noted that one of the firefighters fighting the ravaging fire had suffered minor injuries.
Mayor Larry Walters also told reporters that 45 people went to the LaConte Medical Center for treatment, and some were already treated and sent home.
Mike Werner, the Mayor of Gatlinburg, who have also lost his home and business, had reached out to thank everyone for their strong assistance and support. He also promised everyone that the people of Gatlinburg were going to be okay.
While talking to reporters, he said “We’re going to be OK – that’s our message – we’re going to be OK,” Werner said. “If you really want to do something for Gatlinburg . .. come back and visit us….The beauty of this right now is we have so many people wanting to help it’s almost overwhelming. We’re going to be back on our feet, we’re going to be OK.”
The high demand placed on firefighting resources has directly affected water resources in Gatlinburg. City officials are urging residents to limit their water usage as much as possible. Health officials have also advised citizens to boil water before drinking, or using in food preparation.
The health department have advised residents that boiling water for about 10 minutes will help destroy airborne bacteria as well as disinfect the water before consumption.