Pigeon Forge fire sparks more than $11 million worth of damage

12:35 AM, Mar 23, 2013   |    comments
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Officials said the massive fire at a Pigeon Forge resort earlier this week caused more than $11 million worth of damage.

Emergency Management Agency Director John Mathews confirmed that the fire affected 73 structures and amounted to more than $11,831,500 in damages.

The fire started in a cabin at the Black Bear Ridge Resort off Wears Valley Road on Sunday afternoon and spread to multiple structures and the woods. By the time firefighters and the rain put the flames 24 hours later, the blaze destroyed 53 homes and damaged 20 others.

Mathews said 270 emergency workers from 48 different departments worked around the clock to extinguish the flames. The massive fire required one of the largest responses in terms of manpower because so many departments came together.

Pigeon Forge Fire Chief Tony Watson said the fire would be one he would never forget. He said he's really thankful nobody was seriously injured and for the community's outpouring of support.

"It's really different. We go into a restaurant now to sit and eat and there's people clapping for us and thanking us for what we've done," said Watson. "I've never experienced that in 27 years of doing this right here."

Last weekend, Sevier County fire departments not only responded to the fire at Black Bear Ridge Resort, they also fought a fire on the Dollywood property. They said they're crossing their fingers for a quiet weekend this time around.

To thank crews for all their hard work, The Comedy Barn treated all the firefighters to a free show on Friday evening. The Comedy Barn also presented a $5,000 check to the Pigeon Forge Fire Department.

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