Hundreds still in shelters following Gatlinburg wildfires

Posted at 2:12 PM, Nov 30, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-30 14:12:30-05

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. -- Heavy rain was helping extinguish fires in Gatlinburg Wednesday, but people who had to evacuate were still out of their homes.

The fire killed four and hospitalized a dozen by Wednesday morning, the Associated Press reported. At least 150 buildings were destroyed.

Hundreds of people were using shelters in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg. Many of them knew their homes were gone, while others weren't sure and were waiting to see for themselves.

MORE: How to help Gatlinburg residents displaced by fire

Among them was Zack Lively, whose home was a total loss. He couldn't shake the memories of what he saw.

"I ain't never seen so fierce in my life," Lively said. "I mean, there ain't words to describe it. It's just a feeling -- that red glow coming through the smoke on the mountain coming close to you … knowing you got minutes to get out and get going, leaving everything you've got. Yeah, it's something else."

There are still scattered pockets of fires because of fierce winds that topped 87 mph, pushing the flames extremely fast.

Gatlinburg resident Tammy Lent said she raced home against a police officer's suggestion to rescue her dogs.

"We ran home in our truck, and the fire was on both sides of us," Lent said.


Even with the heavy rain in the area helping firefighters, there was no word on when the roads into Gatlinburg would reopen.