Businesses clean up, get ready to reopen after Gatlinburg fires
By Knoxville News Sentinel
Police officers and firefighters stage near the Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies after wildfires in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg. Photo: Amy Smotherman Burgess, Knoxville News Sentinel
GATLINBURG, TN (News Sentinel) -
Downtown Gatlinburg businesses are still closed, but their doors were wide open Monday morning as staff tried to air out the smoke smell that permeated their buildings after last week's deadly wildfire tore through the tourist town.
The blaze destroyed or damaged more than 1,400 homes and businesses, but the downtown corridor - the town’s tourism center - was largely untouched by the flames on Nov. 28. Mark Simmons, the area manager of East Tennessee's Five Guys stores, was one of many managers and employees in Gatlinburg spending the day cleaning up their stores and restaurants in hopes they can open in the coming days.
Five Guys Burgers and Fries on Parkway suffered smoke damage, but could open as early as Wednesday if the gas can be turned back on, Simmons said.
"We’re just washing from the roof to the floor," Simmons said. "We lost everything (food wise) so we’re having to wait on a truck coming probably tomorrow afternoon. Insurance should cover that."