By Ally Keefer
A raging fire started on Sunday, November 27, in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, causing more than 14,000 people to evacuate the area. As of December 5, 14 people were killed in this tragedy in the Smoky Mountains (CBS News). This fire wiped out many buildings and cabins.
Gatlinburg, Tennessee, is a tourist destination in the Appalachian Mountains. The fire was started at the top of one of the mountains, and due to the wind, moved down the mountain. While people were fleeing the area, they could barely breathe due to the smoke, according to Mike Gill, an evacuee (Washington Post). The smoke became visible in other cities and later started affecting the citizens. Residents of Pigeon Forge began wondering if they should evacuate due to the amount of smoke they were seeing, according to Katie Brittain (Washington Post).
Many people were affected by this disaster. Jon and Janet Summers were separated from their family during the flame. This elderly couple’s three sons were lost. Later, the young men were found, trapped. They were sent to the hospital, but were in stable condition (USA Today).
Some residents do not have much hope for their homes. One lady, Carol Lilleaas, stated in an interview with the Washington Post when asked about what she would return to, “It will be there, or it won’t.” Many other residents of this area have experienced a similar experience of not knowing if their house still exists.
At the beginning of the fire, no one knew how it had started. People began believing that it started at a campsite from a fire in the mountains. However, on Wednesday, December 7, officials accused two juveniles for arson. The charges may be extended due to the deaths of 14 people (CNN).
According to USA Today, Kroger stores across Alabama, Tennessee, and Kentucky and the American Red Cross are working together to help the people affected by this disaster. Kroger is helping raise the money needed from their customers to help these devastated people.