Gatlinburg fire update as Senators and Governor tour damage
GATLINBURG, Tennessee (WDEF) Governor Bill Haslam and Senators Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker are touring the fire damage in Gatlinburg and Sevier County.
Officials also updated the status of the fire recovery Friday morning.
Residents were allowed access to their property for the first time this morning in Gatlinburg.
That will allow their insurance representatives to assess the damage.
Officials say the goal is to re-open the downtown area to the public by next Wednesday.
They have also raised the death toll from the fires to 13, including a person who died from a heart attack after evacuating.
65 people were treated for injuries.
The county now says 1000 structures were damaged by fire.
Sen. Lamar Alexander said “The fire is terrifying and impressive. The response is even more impressive.”
Sen. Bob Corker notes that his wife, Elizabeth, is from Sevier County.
“It has been a tough two weeks in the state of Tennessee with school kids, tornadoes and the fire.”
Governor Haslam has taken calls from President Obama, President-elect Trump and Vice President-elect Pence, all pledging their support for the recovery.