On November 28, a fire that began in the Great Smoky Mountains was pushed into Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge by wind gusts of up to 90mph. The flames burned down hundreds of homes and left 14 people dead, 17 firefighters injured, 14,000 residents homeless and over 1,476 homes have been destroyed. Our immediate response team is on the ground helping Gatlinburg with the unfolding disaster.
In our 8 weeks in Tennessee, we brought the full arsenal of our core skills to the community of Gatlinburg and leveraged volunteers to do meaningful work in a disaster situation. We operated the Nashville Emergency Operation Center (EOC) in addition to the Volunteer Reception Center (VRC) in Sevierville in coordination with the Tennessee VOAD and Volunteer Tennessee. We received volunteers and assigned them appropriate work according to the greatest need on the ground from cleanup to distribution.To date, we’ve processed over 5,000 new volunteers.
As always, the team worked in full force having accomplished demo and debris removal for over 72 homes. We were also out in the field doing chainsaw work, clearing trees and searching through the ashes and remains to salvage any belongings for homeowners.
We worked closely with Volunteer East Tennessee in the management of the VRC in Sevierville – Tennessee VOAD and East Tennessee VOAD. Our partners also include: