Gatlinburg’s Spirit is Not Burnt Out

GATLINBURG, TN – It’s been a month since wildfires began in East Tennessee which engulfed most parts of Gatlinburg.

If you walked around their world famous strip today, you’ll see a community recovering with smiles and hope.

“Everybody knows everybody,” said Cooters Manager Shannon Faulkner. “We’re all pulling together and helping each other out.”

If you walk about 500 feet away from the strip, you’ll see a different story. Many burnt down businesses, homes, and more can be seen. Faulkner is one of the many people who lost their home.

“What do I do now? That was the initial question I had after it happened,” said Faulkner.

Faulkner and his family thankfully all got out okay, and are currently staying in a hotel until they can find a permanent residence. He and many others think it could’ve been a lot worse.

“We’re all safe and that’s the important thing,” said Faulkner.

For a community which was victim to a natural disaster, Gatlinburg’s spirit isn’t burnt out.

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Chemical Spill Closes Down I-24 & Homes Evacuated

MURFREESBORO, TN –A hazardous materials situation in the Buchanan area has been resolved, traffic will remain an issue until early evening hours.

A crash of two semi-trucks on I-24 westbound at mile marker 87 led to evacuations on Wednesday.

More than 150 homes in Buchanan Estates were forced from their homes as a result of the incident. The evacuation order came two-hours after residents were told at 4am to shelter in place, turn off their HVAC units and to close doors and windows.

Emergency crews had to go door to door to alert residents of the evacuations and used PA systems on their emergency vehicles as well.

Patterson Park was set up as a shelter for displaced residents until the evacuation order was lifted.

Over 10 hours later, hazmat crews declared it safe for Buchanan residents to return to their homes and that air quality shouldn’t be an issue and HVAC units can be safe to use.

Rutherford County PIO Lisa Marchesoni told us, “We are happy to have this resolved without any major injures.”

The Tennessee Highway Patrol is now investigating the crash, which will cause I-24 to remain closed, both eastbound (toward Chattanooga) and westbound (toward Nashville). Eastbound traffic is likely to be re-opened during the afternoon drive (possibly around 4pm), which westbound lanes will take much longer to open.