4th person dies in East Tennessee wildfires, TBI establishes hotline for missing person reports

Gatlinburg wildfires / courtesy of Cassie Burgess

Gatlinburg wildfires / courtesy of Cassie Burgess

GATLINBURG, Tenn. – A Tennessee mayor is confirming another fatality in the wildfires that swept through the Great Smoky Mountains, raising the death toll to four.

Sevier County Mayor Larry Waters also said Wednesday that nearly four dozen people had been injured in the fires.

The wildfires destroyed more than 150 buildings. Heavy rain fell early Wednesday, which is helping put out some of the wildfires, but officials say more than 200 firefighters are still out battling flames and hotspots.

Tennessee Emergency Management Agency spokesman Dean Flener said any rain will help, but the fires are still an “ongoing situation.”

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has established a hotline to coordinate reports of missing persons in the areas affected by the recent wildfires in East Tennessee.

Those wishing to report missing individuals believed to be in the affected areas of Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, and Wears Valley may contact 1-800-TBI-FIND. Callers should be prepared to relay as much identifying information as possible, including names, phone numbers, vehicle identification, and last known whereabouts. Recognizing the importance of accounting for individuals who may be missing, the TBI urges the public to refrain from calling to inquire about the status of personal properties in the affected areas. The information gathered by the TBI will be immediately available to law enforcement authorities in the response area for further follow-up.