Anderson County Sheriff’s Department Deputy Candy Stooksbury and her K-9 partner Barnabas, a specially trained bloodhound, have helped in the search efforts in Gatlinburg after forest fires fed by hurricane-force winds raged through the tourist town last week. Corporal Rick Coley and K-9 Justus, and Deputy Matt Forsyth and K-9 BamBam, have also helped.
The deputies and K-9s helped the Knoxville Police Search And Rescue Team and the Tennessee Highway Patrol in the search, rescue, and recovery mission, Anderson County Sheriff’s Department Chief Deputy Mark Lucas said Tuesday.
Other local agencies also responded to the fires, including Anderson County EMS and fire departments in Anderson County. (See this previous story for more information.) The Oak Ridge Fire Department helped rescue 12 people trapped in cars surrounded by fires near the Dollywood theme park near Pigeon Forge.
The forest fires, which first started near the Chimney Tops trail in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, also burned areas around Wears Valley and Pigeon Forge on Monday, November 28, charring more than 17,000 acres, killing 14 people, and damaging or destroying more than 1,700 structures. (See this story for a December 6 update.)