Note: This story was last updated at 4:30 p.m.
Oak Ridge firefighters helped rescue 12 people and four dogs from three cars surrounded by fires behind Dollywood near Pigeon Forge on Monday.
The 12 visitors had been staying in rental cabins behind the Dollywood theme park.
The rescue happened at about 11 p.m. Monday after wildfires fueled by high winds spread from Chimney Tops in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to the Gatlinburg area.
Before the rescue, an Oak Ridge Fire Department crew, along with five Maryville firefighters, had responded to several fire-related situations in Pigeon Forge, most of them in the Dollywood area, a City of Oak Ridge press release said. Pigeon Forge is near Gatlinburg.
At about 11 p.m., the firefighters were dispatched to Mitchell Road to help a man trapped in a cabin with fire all around him. But firefighters were unable to get there because the road was blocked by downed trees and power poles, the press release said. Firefighters began cutting trees until they encountered downed power lines and transformers.
Once Sevier County Electric System workers arrived and cut electrical power to the area, the crew again entered the fire area to rescue the man, the press release said. [Read more…]