13 dead following wildfires in Tennessee


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Officials say 13 people have died as a result of the wildfires in Gatlinburg, including one person who died of a heart attack during their attempt to escape the fire.

According to officials, 85 have been treated from various injuries and many of them have been released from the hospital.

Five of the dead have been identified at this time. They are as follows:

  • John Tegler, 71, of Canada
  • Janet Tegler, 70, of Canada
  • John Summers, 61, of Memphis
  • Janet Peso Summers, of Memphis
  • Mae Vance, the vacationer who died from a heart attack

One family identified another victim as Alice Hagler. Her daughter-in-law told WATE they last spoke as the fires neared Hagler’s home, who sounded scared and worried.

Over 1,000 structures have been damaged or destroyed in Sevier County.

County mayor Larry Waters said during a media briefing Friday that officials hope to have Gatlinburg open to the public by Wednesday.

PHOTOS: Wildfires burning in East Tennessee

Residents in Gatlinburg will be able to see their property Friday for the first time since they were evacuated earlier in the week due to the wildfires that spread through the area. They will be allowed inside the city at 10 a.m. but will not be allowed inside their homes or businesses. Emergency personnel said the structures could have been compromised by the fires.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has set up a hotline to report missing persons. Anyone who calls the hotline, 1-800-TBI-FIND, should be prepared to relay as much identifying information as possible, including names, phone numbers, vehicle identification and last known whereabouts.

Sevier County has created a resource website for anyone seeking additional information to help, donate and more. Click here to view the site.