Hundreds gather in Gatlinburg to mark one-year anniversary of devastating fires

Great Smoky Mountains NPS

GATLINBURG, Ky. (WKYT) - Hundreds of people gathered Tuesday night in Gatlinburg for a special ceremony on the one-year anniversary of deadly wildfires that scorched East Tennessee.

Rev. Bill Black said at the ceremony, “We were burned, Lord. And we are scared. While there is much healing and hope, sorrow remains.”

Local officials read the names of the 14 people who died in the fire.

Organizers also revealed plans for a lasting memorial paying tribute to the victims.

“Our hope and prayer is that those family members left behind will be comforted by God's grace and the precious memories of them you still have in your heart,” Gatlinburg City Manager Cindy Cameron Ogle said.

First responders were also honored for their bravery in the face of the fire.

“We thank you all from the bottom of our hearts,” Gatlinburg Fire Chief Greg Miller said.

Meanwhile, life in the tourist town is slowly getting back to normal as folks rebuild what was lost.

Among them is Shane Gravitt from Lexington, Ky.

He and his family lost their cottage in the fire and plan on rebuilding in the next few weeks.

“We were really hoping everybody could get back down there and support the economy and fortunately everybody did,” Gravitt told WKYT. “There's been a good recovery so we're really happy about that.”

Tuesday’s ceremony was held at the Rocky Top Sports World Complex, which served as a shelter for many people affected by the fire.



 
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