Death toll from Gatlinburg wildfires increases to 14

Deep South Severe Weather_280589

Burned structures are seen from aboard a National Guard helicopter near Gatlinburg, Tenn., Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016. Thousands of people raced through a hell-like landscape to escape wildfires that killed several people and destroyed hundreds of homes in the Great Smoky Mountains. (AP Photo/Erik Schelzig)

GATLINBURG, Tenn. (AP) β€” The latest in the Gatlinburg area wildfires (all times local):

8:30 p.m.

The death toll from the Gatlinburg area fires has risen to 14.

On Sunday, the National Park Service and other authorities said 81-year-old Elaine Brown of Sevierville died fleeing the fire after she had a medical event driving that caused a multi-car crash.

Officials have increase the number of injures to 134. They say almost 1,700 structures have been damaged or destroyed by the fires.

Also this weekend, the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency said a mass text message telling people to evacuate was never sent. TEMA says the local command post requested the message at 8:30 p.m. Monday, but communication between agencies was lost because of disabled phone, internet and electrical services.

Previously, John Mathews of the Sevier County Emergency Management Agency said the text was sent, but everyone didn’t receive it due to power outages and loss of cellphone reception.

TEMA says officials warned people throughout Monday through news conferences and news releases, door-to-door knocking and social media.


12:18 p.m.

Emergency officials have released the names of five more victims in the wildfires that ravaged the city of Gatlinburg, Tennessee.

A news release on the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency’s website says they are among 13 people who died last week.

The statement released Saturday night says they include 34-year-old Constance Reed and her daughters, 12-year-old Chloe Reed and 9-year-old Lily Reed. Media outlets report Reed and her daughters were trying to escape the wildfires near their Gatlinburg home, and that Reed’s husband and their son were not at home at the time.

The statement also identified other victims as 85-year-old Edward Taylor and 59-year-old Bradley Phillips. Further details about them were unavailable.

More than 1,400 homes and businesses were damaged or destroyed.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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