5 children killed in fire at Pennsylvania day care center

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CBS NEWS)

 

5 children killed in fire at Pennsylvania day care center

erie-pennsylvania-day-care-center-house-fire-01.png
First responders at the scene of a deadly day care center fire in Erie, Pennsylvania, on Sun., Aug. 11, 2019.CBS AFFILIATE WSEE-TV

Erie, Pa. — A morning fire in Pennsylvania killed five children and sent another person to the hospital, authorities said. The fire was reported in Erie, a northwest lake town, at about 1:15 a.m. Sunday, Chief Guy Santone of the Erie Fire Department said.

The victims ranged in ages from 8 months to 7 years, Santone said.

Neighbors a block away told CBS Erie, Pennsylvania, affiliate WSEE-TV they heard the screams of teens who had escaped from a second floor porch roof.

The Erie Regional Chamber and Growth Partnership lists a day care at the fire address. WSEE-TV reported that the day care may have been operating overnight at a home.

Detectives are working to determine whether any of the victims were staying at the day care, Erie Police Chief Dan Spizarny told the Erie Times-News.

Valerie Lockett-Slupski, standing across the street from the fire-damaged house, said she was the grandmother of four of the children, and that they were staying at the day care because their parents were working overnight, the Erie Times-News reported . She said the family had two boys and two girls and had used the day care for almost a year.

“So we are all at a loss, trying to figure out how this happened,” Lockett-Slupski told the newspaper.

The owner of the day care was flown to UPMC Mercy for treatment, Santone said. He said a neighbor was also injured.

Chief Fire Inspector John Widomski told the newspaper that the fire appeared to have started in the living room area on the first floor. The department’s two fire inspectors and three Erie police detectives trained in fire investigations are working to determine the cause of the blaze.

The chamber site lists the Harris Family Daycare at that address as “a 24 hour, 7 days a week childcare service including holidays. We provide transportation and teach kids age appropriate skills.” The state Department of Human Services Office of Child Development and Early Learning listed the day care as in compliance with requirements following a Dec. 28, 2018, inspection.

As Siberia burns, Russia chokes

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF GLOBAL VOICES)

 

As Siberia burns, Russia chokes

Fighting a wildfire in Siberia. From Euronews’s YouTube video “Лесные пожары не тушат из-за экономии средств

An immense forest fire has hit Siberia, where Buryatia, Yakutia, and the Irkutsk and Krasnoyarsk regions are ablaze. According to Greenpeace Russia, over four million hectares are burning, an area larger than the size of Belgium. The vast boreal forests sometimes called the “lungs of the northern hemisphere” are at risk.

For nearly two weeks, photos have spread across the Runet of flaming forests, as well as satellite imagery showing the extent of the blaze, accompanied by the hashtags #сибирьгорит (“Siberia is burning”), #гориттайга (“the Taiga is burning”), #потушитесибирь, (“Extinguish Siberia”) and #мирспасисибирь (“World, Save Siberia!”)

Commentators are angry that local authorities did not start to fight the fire sooner. While forest fires are no rarity in Siberia, climate scientists stated that this year’s fires spread particularly aggressively due to a combination of strong winds and the unusually hot summer. The sluggishness in tackling them could also be explained by the fact that the fires first broke out in remote areas.

According to Alexander Uss, governor of the Krasnoyarsk Region, it is impractical to fight fires in such remote regions. Uss added, during a lecture at a youth forum at a Siberian university on 29 July, that the forests were “self-replenishing,” that forest fires were “a common natural phenomenon,” and that fighting them is “meaningless and can even be harmful to try.”

But there is no fire without smoke. In recent days, that smoke has drifted well beyond Siberian cities such as Novosibirsk and Tomsk, where medical personnel have reported a rise in ambulance calls and patients with high blood pressure due to air pollution. Residents as far west as Tatarstan and as far south as Kazakhstan have also reported breathing difficulties; they are sharing images of thick smog in their regions over Instagram. Others are sharing selfies in which they wear breathing masks bearing the words “Siberia Burns.”

One user shared the experience of her relatives living in a town in the Irkutsk region:

говорила сейчас с сестрой, она живет и работает в Усть-Илимске. дышать там нечем совершенно, все сидят в закрытых квартирах с увлажнителями воздуха и терпят. я не нашла информации по погибшим (а в пожары городские люди часто гибнут не от огня, а от сердца, вспомните пожары в Центральной России 2011 года. но умирающие от сердца на счет пожара и совесть властей не пойдут)

I just spoke with my sister, she lives and works in Ust-Ilimsk. It’s really impossible to breathe there; everyone’s sitting locked up in their apartments with air humidifiers and suffering. I haven’t found any information on victims (and during fires, city dwellers often don’t die from the flames but from heart [complications], remember the fires in Central Russia in 2011.

— Oksana Vasyakina, Facebook, 29 July 2019

Another gave a chillingly clinical account of what awaits residents in such places:

Населённые пункты на запад от горящих лесов поглотил густой дым. Люди дышат токсичными продуктами горения. Наверное, вы знаете, что, когда пожарные входят в горящий дом, на них надеты специальные маски, чтобы они не задохнулись от угарного газа. По этой же причине во время пожара в помещении рекомендуется дышать через мокрую тряпку. Но это делают, когда горят только здания, из которых можно выбраться и начать дышать свежим воздухом, а сейчас пламенем охвачены гигантские лесные массивы, а смог от этих пожаров распространяется на тысячи километров. Людей до сих пор не начали эвакуировать, из-за этого они сильно пострадают. […] Многие последствия могут проявляться не сразу, а через несколько недель. Это бомба замедленного действия.

Populated places to the West of the burning forests are enveloped in a thick fog. People are breathing the toxic emissions from the fire. You probably know that, when firemen enter a burning house, they wear special masks so they don’t suffocate from carbon monoxide. That’s the reason why it’s recommended to breathe though a damp cloth in case of fire. But that’s done when a single building is burning, from which you can escape and start to breathe fresh air. But now the flames cover gigantic forests, and smoke from these fires spreads over thousands of kilometres. People still haven’t begun to be evacuated, so they’re seriously suffering. […] Many of the symptoms don’t manifest immediately, but after several weeks. It’s a slow-acting bomb.

— Александра Кукулина, Facebook, 28 July 2019

The St Petersburg based Buryat journalist Alexandra Gamarzhapova reflected on the crisis in her home region:

Больше 3 млн га леса прямо в эти минуты горит в Сибири. В моей родной Бурятии введен режим ЧС.

Мы привыкли, что людям в общем-то друг на друга плевать (чиновников, которые отказывается тушить пожары, терпим мы с вами), но звери-то и леса тут причем?

Сотни тысяч животных гибнут сейчас, потому что человек говорит, что тушить пожары дорого.

Я присоединяюсь ко флешмобу #сибирьгорит и верю, что если нас, неравнодушных, будет миллионы, власти начнут борьбу с огнем.

P.S. За виртуальные флешмобы пока не сажают, так что присоединяйтесь.

More than three million hectares are burning in Siberia this very minute. A state of emergency has been introduced in my native region of Buryatia.

We’re used to people not giving a damn about each other (to those officials who refuse to put out the fires: we suffer with you), but why do the animals and the forests have to suffer?

Hundreds of thousands of animals are dying right now, because one man said that it is too expensive to put out the fires?

I’m joining the flashmob #Siberiaisburning and believe that if there are millions of us who are not indifferent [to this], the authorities will start fighting the fire.

P.S. They don’t jail people yet for virtual flashmobs, so come and join.

— Alexandra Garmazhapova, Facebook, 30 July 2019

Those are just a few reasons why Alexander Uss is probably the least popular man in Russia right now. They’re also why 780,000 people, as of 31 July, signed an online petition demanding that the government introduce emergency status across Siberia.

Nevertheless, Uss’s statements did have a legal basis. As the Russian daily Vedomosti noted, many of the remote areas where the fires broke out are “control zones,” a term introduced in 2015. Due to their distance from settlements and key infrastructure, local authorities are not obliged to fight forest fires in these areas, which saves them money and resources. But Grigory Kukshin of Greenpeace Russia told Sibir.Realii that many of the control zones are far from uninhabited, and that nearly 90 per cent of Russia’s forest fires last summer occurred in such areas. The State Duma, Russia’s legislature, is now considering a review of “control zones.”

So the authorities are beginning to respond to public demand; on 29 July, Rosleskhoz, Russia’s state forestry agency, reported that military units and planes had started to put out the blaze. But it seems to be too little, too late. As was the case during recent floods in Siberia’s Irkutsk region, Russian commentators are already linking the government’s response to broader questions of accountability and state-society relations. This was not helped by president Vladimir Putin’s earlier offer of support to Greece to combat forest fires on 24 July.

Importantly, many of the regions affected already suffer from ecological problems, meaning that existing eco-movements (such as Krasnoyarsk’s “Clear Sky” movement against air pollution) have played an important role in mobilising locals to make their voices heard.

So the idea that fighting forest fires is “economically unprofitable” resonates with people who suspect this is just how the government sees their prior problems. In fact, the phrase has become a meme in its own right, in a similar spirit to Dmitry Medvedev’s words “there’s no money but you hang in there,” which the Russian prime minister said to pensioners in Crimea in 2016.

They tell us that it’s not profitable to extinguish the Krasnoyarsk taiga. And what about paying the multi-million salaries of [Igor] Sechin, [-] Miller, [-] Kostin; is that profitable? Or, perhaps, the construction of a new residence for [Russian Orthodox Patriarch] Kirill for nearly three billion rubles; is that profitable? Have all of you over there in Moscow completely lost your minds? Have you forgotten who saved your asses from the clutches of the fascists in December 1941? We, the Siberian people, demand a full-scale operation to extinguish [the fires] in our forests, using all the forces of the Ministry of Emergency Situations and Ministry of Defence.

— Nikolai Salnikov, Ekho MoskvyJuly 27, 2019

Similarly, libertarian activist Mikhail Svetov, who runs a popular YouTube channel, linked discontent over the forest fires to other causes of public concern:

It’s not profitable to extinguish the taiga. But it is profitable to spend 216 billion on supporting the national guard. It is profitable to poison children with landfills and send toxic waste to Shiyes. As we go out to defend Russia and our future, they fight for the right to ravage our country.

— Mikhail Svetov (@msvetov) July 27, 2019

True to form, some Runet users turned tragedy to farce with their acerbic wit:

It’s unpatriotic to say “forest fires.”
As everybody knows:
It’s not an explosion, but a ball of cotton
Not an aviation catastrophe, but a hard landing
Not miserable poverty, but negative income growth
That’s why these are not forest fires, but a smoke screen against NATO spy satellites

— Проф. Преображенский (@prof_preobr), July 30, 2019

‘Unprecedented’ wildfires ravage the Arctic

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

‘Unprecedented’ wildfires ravage the Arctic

Wildfire smoke is spreading from Alaska across parts of Canada.

Story highlights

  • The wildfires come as the planet is on track to experience the hottest July on record
  • Wildfires contribute to global warming by releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere

(CNN)More than 100 intense wildfires have ravaged the Arctic since June, with scientists describing the blazes as “unprecedented.”

New satellite images show huge clouds of smoke billowing across uninhabited land in Greenland, Siberia and parts of Alaska.
The wildfires come after the planet experienced the hottest June on record and is on track to experience the hottest July on record, as heatwaves sweep across Europe and the United States.
Since the start of June, Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS), which provides data about atmospheric composition and emissions, has tracked more than 100 intense wildfires in the Arctic Circle.
Pierre Markuse, a satellite photography expert, said the region has experienced fires in the past, but never this many.
Satellite images show smoke billowing across Greenland and Alaska as wildfires ravage the region.

Temperatures in the Arctic are rising at a faster rate than the global average, providing the right conditions for wildfires to spread, according to Mark Parrington, a senior scientist at CAMS.
“The number and intensity of wildfires in the Arctic Circle is unusual and unprecedented,” Parrington told CNN.
“They are concerning as they are occurring in a very remote part of the world, and in an environment that many people would consider to be pristine,” he said.
See how Europe is dealing with an extreme heatwave

Play Video

See how Europe is dealing with an extreme heatwave 01:34
The average June temperature in Siberia, where the fires are raging, was almost 10 degrees higher than the long-term average between 1981–2010, Dr Claudia Volosciuk, a scientist with the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) told CNN.
Parrington said there seemed to be more wildfires due to local heatwaves in Siberia, Canada and Alaska.
The fires themselves contribute to the climate crisis by releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
They emitted an estimated 100 megatons of carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere between 1 June and 21 July, almost the equivalent of Belgium’s carbon output in 2017, according to CAMS.
Volosciuk said wildfires are also exacerbating global warming by releasing pollutants into the atmosphere.
“When particles of smoke land on snow and ice, [they] cause the ice to absorb sunlight that it would otherwise reflect, and thereby accelerate the warming in the Arctic,” she said.

Many Are Feared Dead in Suspected Arson at Japanese Anime Studio

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE NEW YORK TIMES)

 

Many Are Feared Dead in Suspected Arson at Japanese Anime Studio

ImageSmoke billowed from Kyoto Animation’s building in the Japanese city of Kyoto on Thursday.
Credit Kyodo News, via Associated Press

TOKYO — A man ignited a flammable liquid around a Japanese animation studio in Kyoto on Thursday, the police said, killing at least seven people — with many more feared dead — in a devastating morning blaze.

About 70 people were inside the offices of Kyoto Animation when the blaze started at about 10:30 a.m., Japan’s NHK public broadcaster reported, citing the police and rescuers.

The Kyoto Fire Department confirmed that seven had died in the blaze and that as many as 17 more were feared to have been killed. At least two dozen others were injured and several people remained missing on Thursday.

The police arrested a 41-year-old man who was suspected to have set the fire after spreading a liquid, according to news reports. The man was under treatment at a hospital.

Kyoto Animation is best known for producing shows and movies including “Full Metal Panic,” “K-On” and “Clannad,” among other works. It was founded by Yoko Hatta and her husband, Hideaki Hatta, in 1981, and most of the studio’s production takes place in the building that was the site of Thursday’s fire.

The blaze came less than two months after a man went on a stabbing rampage in a suburb outside Tokyo, attacking 17 schoolgirls, killing one of them as well as an adult. The rampage by the 51-year-old man cast attention to the phenomenon of Japan’s “hikikomori,” adults who are extreme recluses, and their psychological issues.

Footage of Thursday’s attack from a local TV station showed black smoke rippling out of windows of the three-story building, with one side of the building mostly charred black.

Credit Video by FNN.jp

Citing the Kyoto police, the Asahi Shimbun, one of Japan’s largest mainstream dailies, reported that the suspect had entered the building screaming, “Die!” The newspaper reported that the suspect had tried to escape, but collapsed on the street outside and was captured by members of the studio’s staff.

The shows and movies that Kyoto Animation produces fall into the category of Japanese cartooning known as anime. It is a backbone of Japan’s popular culture and one of the country’s major soft-power exports. With roots going back to the early 20th century, anime has found an international following through artists like Hayao Miyazaki, whose animated feature “Spirited Away” won an Oscar in 2003, and Makoto Shinkai, whose movie “Your Name” was a global phenomenon, particularly in China.

On Twitter, Mr. Shinkai showed his support. “Everyone at Kyoto Animation, please please stay safe,” he said, in a message that was recirculated almost 19,000 times.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe also expressed sympathy on Twitter for the victims of the fire.

安倍晋三

@AbeShinzo

本日、京都で発生した放火殺人事件では、多数の死傷者が出ており、あまりの凄惨さに言葉を失います。お亡くなりになられた方のご冥福をお祈りいたします。負傷された皆様にお見舞いを申し上げるとともに、一日も早い回復をお祈りしています。

32.9K people are talking about this

“Today, we had many casualties in a fatal arson attack that happened in Kyoto,” Mr. Abe wrote. “It is so horrifying that I am at a loss for words. I’d like to express my deepest condolences to the victims. I offer my thoughts to those who have been wounded and pray for their recovery, by even one day.”

Witnesses who spoke to other Japanese news outlets described grim scenes near the studio. According to the Mainichi Shimbun, another large daily, a woman in her 60s living near the building said she saw a young woman, her entire body burned, screaming and running into a nearby shop begging for help.

The witness said the woman was bleeding, her clothing torn and her feet bare. “It took a long time until the ambulance arrived,” the witness told the Mainichi. “All I could do was to spray water over her under the fire department’s instruction. She was eventually transferred to an ambulance.”

Another witness who was working near the studio on Thursday when the fire broke out told the Sankei Shimbun that he saw flames coming from the first and second floor of the building and heard screaming. The unnamed witness said he saw a man hanging onto the wall outside the building, and another trying to escape from a first-floor window after breaking it.

If the authorities’ fears about the death toll are proven correct, the fire would be one of the worst in Japan’s recent history. In 2008, 16 people were killed when a video store burned down in Osaka. In 2001, 44 people died after a fire broke out at a crowded gambling club in Tokyo’s busiest entertainment district.

Hisako Ueno, Makiko Inoue and Eimi Yamamitsu contributed reporting.

‘Blaze looks terrible’, Omar Abdullah tweets as fire ravages Norte-Dame

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF INDIA’S HINDUSTAN TIMES)

 

‘Blaze looks terrible’, Omar Abdullah tweets as fire ravages Notre-Dame

The fire caused a spire to collapse and raised fears over the future of the nearly millenium old building and its precious artworks.

INDIA Updated: Apr 16, 2019 00:39 IST

HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Notre-Dame Cathedral,Paris,Fire
Firefighters douse flames and smoke billowing from the roof at Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris on Monday .(AFP)

National Conference leader Omar Abdullah and the Congress party tweeted their sorrow over the fire that ravaged the Notre-Dame Cathedral in central Paris on Monday.

Omar hoped that the fire could be put before it consumes the entire building.

Omar Abdullah

@OmarAbdullah

This blaze looks terrible. I hope they are able to put it out before it completely guts this historic building.

Breaking News Feed@pzf

BREAKING NEWS: Huge fire reported at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France.

We can’t show you everything!

We automatically hide video that might contain sensitive content.

Show Media

Embedded video

76 people are talking about this

The Congress party in its tweet said it hoped there were no casualties.

Congress

@INCIndia

Heart-breaking news of the fire at the iconic Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris. We hope there are no casualties & the Holy Cathedral can be salvaged.

cristina casacuberta@ccasacub

#notredame

Embedded video

343 people are talking about this

Flames that began in the early evening burst through the roof of the centuries-old cathedral and engulfed the spire, which collapsed, quickly followed by the entire roof.

A huge plume of smoke wafted across the city and ash fell over a large area. Parisians watched on, many of them lost for words.

Firefighters tried to contain the blaze with water hoses and cleared the area around Notre-Dame, which sits on an island in the River Seine and marks the very centre of Paris

(With inputs from Reuters)

First Published: Apr 16, 2019 00:39 IST

Hate And Fire Everywhere These Day’s It Seems

Hate And Fire Everywhere These Day’s It Seems

Folks are we really living in a time that is more dangerous than in any time in even our own personal past histories? Or, maybe these times are no different from any others, it only seems that way because of the more and better technology we have at our fingertips today? There is a lot of hate in the world today, but hasn’t this been so since the creation of us gentiles? It does appear that most of the worlds biggest conflicts have at least some religion base to it these days. Race is not the biggest issue in most wars today but there are the instances where a race ties themselves to a certain religion like we connect Muslim people as being Islamic because it seems to be a fit in most cases. That is not Islamophobe, it is a reality issue, if you meet a person who is from Mexico or Latin America do you not assume that their religion is Catholic? Are most people you meet here in America that are from India, don’t most folks tend to assume that they are of the Hindu faith? It seems that all over the globe there are wars and simmering conflicts. People do not tend to say in their own heart about the person they are getting ready to slaughter, O how I love you! As long as we have rampant hate, race toward race or religion toward religion, the fires will burn until they consume both us and those who come after us. This is true because true hate is a consuming fire even after all is under their command. Everyone on Earth has the God-given right to protect themselves and their families but absolutely no one on Earth has the right to be the aggressor. No aggressor, no need to defend, equals no more hate caused deaths or injuries. Yet it is a truth that some people believe in their own mind that they have ‘the right’ to rob, attack and or kill whom ever they so choose. As long as this mind-set exists innocent people are going to be butchered and as long as this mind-set exists there will be the need for people to be able to protect themselves, their families and their property.

 

 

(Spiritual Poem) Praise And Vanity

PRAISE AND VANITY

 

We praise who we are, not what we ought to be

Are we pleased with the mirror, the selfie we see

So vain, or just honesty, not really vanity at all

What we wish for most we worship, this we are

A beautiful bum, Silver Shadow in our garage

What we praise is who we be, who we really are

 

 

Put someone else first, you are an odd one this I see

DC-10, hitch us a ride onto the next large rock barge

Clone us but don’t donate a thing when were dead

So many a plastic neon star self-proclaimed as we are

Through personal praise and ego, a star we know we are

 

 

To whom or what is worthy, that we should ever bow or pray

We know we are so cool, yet we’re one heartbeat from the flame

Wake up dead with Hell’s heat licking our heartless shell of shame

To who is it now that listens to our prayers as we endure the pain

While we’re still breathing, our heart, mind, and Soul, decides today

Careful what we pray for, without humility we show the world our shame

 

Пожар в Перми 14 сентября 1842 года

Folks, please consider this article, it is quite the read.  http://пожар-в-перми-14…нтября-1842-года/

Книжные памятники Пермского края

Источник: https://uraloved.ru

В сентябре 1842 года в Перми вспыхнул крупнейший в истории города пожар. Ему предшествовали находимые в разных местах города загадочные записки-предупреждения с указанием точной даты пожара… (Смышляев Д. Д. Пожар в Перми 14 сентября 1842 г.: из юношеских воспоминаний // Пермские губернские ведомости. — 1866. — № 48.)

Лето 1842 года было очень засушливым, что способствовало двум крупным пожарам: в Казани и в Перми. Пожар, уничтоживший в августе месяце 1842 года значительную часть города Казани, произвел странное впечатление на пермяков. Почему-то большая часть их стали высказывать опасении и за Пермь. В первых числах сентября, весь город был встревожен слухами о найденных в разных местах анонимных записках, заключавших в себе предуведомление о том, что 14 сентября город Пермь будет выжжен. В некоторых записках жителям даже предлагалось заблаговременно принять меры по спасению имущества.

Пожар 14 (26) сентября по одним данным начался в тёплое солнечное утро, когда многие горожане были в церквях по…

View original post 1,685 more words

Two juveniles charged with arson in Tennessee wildfires that left 14 people dead

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE WASHINGTON POST NEWS PAPER)

Two juveniles charged with arson in Tennessee wildfires that left 14 people dead

December 7 at 4:33 PM

What we know about the Tennessee wildfires

Tens of thousands of people have escaped a deadly wildfire in East Tennessee. Here’s a look at the aftermath of the disaster. (Claritza Jimenez/The Washington Post)

Two juveniles have been charged with aggravated arson in connection with the East Tennessee wildfires that killed 14 people last week and left nearly 150 others injured, authorities said Wednesday.

During an investigation involving local, state and federal agents, “information was developed that two juveniles allegedly started the fire,” the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said in a news release.

Both were taken into custody Wednesday morning and are being held at the Sevier County Juvenile Detention Center.

The suspects are Tennessee residents, District Attorney General Jimmy B. Dunn said at a news conference in Sevierville. No additional information about the youths was made available, including their age and gender.

“I understand that you have a lot of questions,” Dunn told reporters. “However, the law does not allow for the disclosure of additional information at this time.”

He added that additional charges “are being considered” and said the juveniles could be tried as adults.

Two juveniles charged with arson in deadly Tennessee wildfires

Officials say two juveniles are being held on arson charges and additional charges are being considered in connection with the deadly wildfires that broke out last month in Tennessee. (Reuters)

The “Chimney Tops 2” fire was first reported Nov. 23 in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park near Gatlinburg, according to the National Park Service. The wildfire exploded on Nov. 28, as massive walls of flames spread down the mountains into Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge with shocking speed, according to those who fled with little more than the clothes on their backs.

The fires that engulfed the two tourist towns outside the park and shut down one of the country’s most popular natural attractions left more than 1,750 structures damaged or destroyed, most of them single-family residences. Additionally, thousands of wooded acres burned in the most-visited national park in the United States.

Gatlinburg Fire Chief Greg Miller called the devastation “unfathomable.”

Video shows firefighters driving through Tenn. wildfires

Lt. Steve Coker of the Sevierville Fire Dept. captured video of the wildfires burning in eastern Tennessee as his fire crew moved through the town of Gatlinburg on Nov. 28. (Twitter @alliecoker7)

Although wind gusts exceeding 60 mph caused the disaster to explode in Sevier County, fires had been brewing for months in this region. More than 150,000 acres have been charred in the Southeast by large fires, according to the U.S. Forest Service, and nearly 4,000 firefighters have been called into action to fight blazes that keep popping up.

The wind carried the flames from the nearby Chimney Tops fire across ground parched by a historic drought and into the surrounding towns. The fire moved too fast and too far to contain. “This is a fire for the history books,” Miller said last week. “The likes of this has never been seen here.”

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam (R) called the fire the state’s worst in at least a century.

“To the residents of Sevier County: We stand with you and are committed to making sure justice is served in this case,” TBI Director Mark Gwyn said at the news conference Wednesday.

He added: “Our promise is that we will do every effort to help bring closure to those who have lost so much.”

The investigation, Gwyn said, is ongoing.

Gatlinburg, with a population of about 4,000 about 43 miles south of Knoxville, is surrounded on three sides by Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The Smokies, part of the Appalachian mountain range, straddle the border between eastern Tennessee and North Carolina.

Considered the gateway town to the Tennessee side of the park, Gatlinburg draws more than 11 million visitors a year, according to tourism officials. It is known for its mountain chalets and ski lodge — drawing honeymooners and other visitors all year-long.

Despite two days of heavy rains earlier this week, there are nearly 800 firefighters still battling the fires on the mountains. The fire is about 64 percent contained, authorities said Wednesday, and parts of the park remain closed.

But downtown Gatlinburg was spared, and property owners, business owners, renters and lease holders were allowed to return to full-time occupancy on Wednesday. The tourist destination is expected to reopen for business on Friday.

Angela Fritz and Peter Holley contributed to this post, which has been updated numerous times.

Deadly Storms Batters Fire Ravaged East Tennessee Tourists Towns

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE)

Search-and-rescue teams continued Wednesday to scour the charred hills and ridges around the mountain resort town of Gatlinburg, Tenn., after wildfires fueled by severe winds roared through eastern Tennessee.

As the death toll climbed to seven Wednesday, according to the Associated Press, hot spots continued to blaze around the quaint Appalachian tourism center that attracts 11 million people a year. Residents and visitors remained under a mandatory evacuation order after more than 250 homes, vacation cabins, motels and businesses were reduced to rubble.

While overnight storms dropped long-awaited rain early Wednesday, helping to douse the parched, fire-ravaged landscape, they also brought a risk of flooding. On Wednesday morning, the National Weather Service issued an urban and small stream flood advisory for Gatlinburg and surrounding Sevier County.

The storms also wreaked havoc on tiny, rural communities across the Southeast, killing five people and injuring dozens in Alabama and Tennessee.

Three people perished when a tornado demolished a mobile home in the small town of Rosalie, in northeastern Alabama. Five miles east, a daycare center in Ider, Ala., was destroyed, leaving four children in critical condition. A married couple was also killed in Polk County in southern Tennessee, the state Department of Health said.

“We don’t usually get tornadoes this time of year,” said Chief Deputy Rocky Harnen of Jackson County, Ala., where 50 buildings were damaged or destroyed. “But this has not been a normal weather year.”

Wildfires have been spreading for weeks in the Southeast, where severe drought persists. As many as 20 large fires are currently blazing across 142,000 acres, according to Adam Rondeau, a spokesman for the U.S. Forest Service, who described the unusually parched conditions as creating the “perfect storm” for active wildfires.

On Monday night, high winds swept eastern Tennessee, blowing burning embers from a wildfire on Chimney Tops mountain into Gatlinburg, the gateway to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Local officials and residents in the town were taken aback by how swiftly the fires spread as winds ignited new fire spots and knocked live power lines down onto dry autumn leaves. In a span of just 15 minutes, the fire chief said, emergency workers were alerted to almost 20 burning buildings.

“You know, it happened so fast, it was staggering,” said Gatlinburg Mayor Mike Werner, who lost his two-story home as well as the condominium business he has managed for 31 years. “When you’ve got winds of up to 87 mph pushing fire, people were basically running for their lives.”

Michael Luciano, who lives in Chalet Village, west of downtown Gatlinburg, recorded on cellphone video his harrowing journey down a narrow mountain road in a pickup truck, past flaming orange trees and cabins. (Warning, video contains profanity.)

“Hit the gas,” he screamed at his brother, Anthony Fulton, as red flames engulfed both sides of the road and embers bounced off the windshield. Their frightened dog can be heard panting in the background

Smoke filled their truck as they hurtled past blazing, burnt-out structures. “No warning, nothing…” Luciano exclaimed. “Almost every cabin in Chalet Village is burning to the freakin’ ground!”

Dozens of guests and staff found themselves trapped inside the Park Vista, a modern, high-rise hotel perched on a ridge above downtown Gatlinburg. Some fled outside with their luggage, only to find the sole road to safety blocked by fallen trees and flames.

“Then the flames came up into the parking lot,” Logan Baker, a hotel guest, told WBIR-TV.

As Baker and his aunt frantically tried to help guests get back inside, he said, embers started flying through the doors and into the hotel. Firefighters barricaded the hotel and urged guests to huddle in the center of the smoke-filled lobby as they worked to beat the fire back from the building.

Across Gatlinburg and surrounding Sevier County, hundreds of structures were damaged and destroyed – from the Sleepy Bear Motel to Cupid’s Chapel of Love, a tiny wedding venue.

State Highway 441 into Gatlinburg remained closed, and more than 14,000 residents and tourists have been evacuated. At least 45 people were taken to the hospital.

“This is a fire for the history books,” Gatlinburg Fire Chief Greg Miller said at a news conference Tuesday.

“A lot of us have heavy hearts about what’s happened here,” Gov. Bill Haslam said at another news press conference Tuesday evening, noting that it was “a little numbing” to take in the extent of the devastation. “This is the largest fire in the last 100 years in the state of Tennessee.”

Still, much of downtown and some major tourist attractions appeared to have been spared. More than 10,000 animals at Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies in Gatlinburg remained safe, even though staff had been forced to evacuate Monday. In nearby Pigeon Forge, some cabins at the Dollywood theme park — co-owned by country singer Dolly Parton, who is from the area — were damaged or destroyed, yet the park remained unscathed after firefighters dug a fire line.

With more than 10,000 people without power, emergency workers cleared debris Wednesday morning and went door to door checking on residents.

“We have not been able to get in all of the areas,” Miller said. “We pray that we don’t experience any more fatalities.”

Jarvie is a special Los Angeles Times correspondent. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2016, Chicago Tribune
Peter A Bell

Thinker. Listener. Talker. Reader. Writer.

The Dreamgirl Writes

“Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.” — Maya Angelou

Astonishing India

Travel Tales

Kash Voice

Voice of Soul

Atul Depak

'Ala qullu shayyin ma khala Allah baatilu' (Everything except God is perishable)

Reflections of life

All about Life

Unsophisticated Articles

A learning tool through experience

Agora no RS

Todas as notícias do Rio Grande do Sul

Spinning South.

Welcome to Spinning South weekly blog.

%d bloggers like this: