UPDATE: Local bride searching for new wedding venue after fire - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

UPDATE: Local bride searching for new wedding venue after fire

Posted: Updated:
Linda Smith and Paul Hale Linda Smith and Paul Hale

UPDATE: The search is on for couples who were planning on getting married at General Woods Inn in Rising Fawn. 

The wedding venue was destroyed by a massive fire Wednesday, leaving brides like Linda Smith without a place to get married. 

It's almost impossible for Linda to contain her smile when she talks about her fiance, Paul Hale.

The couple connected three years ago over their love for motorcycles. 

"He had just bought his the same time I bought mine the year prior," she said.

And when Paul popped the big question, Linda didn't think twice about saying yes. 

"He opens up my door and got down on one knee and said, 'Will you marry me?' and I said, 'Well let me take my seatbelt off!' and then I said, 'Yes, I will," she added.

Linda said they fell in love with the views and accommodations at General Woods Inn, something owner Bob Woods said was a part of his vision from the very start.

"When Nadine and I got married, it was very stressful," he said, "What we tried to do is say all you have to do was come here on that day and get dressed."

"It's been something in my mind of what it's going to be, this is how it's going to look," Linda said, "So I've had a year of building a vision."

But that vision changed when hot, orange flames roared through the two-story building destroying the venue and place Woods called home. 

"In this home was 35 years of marriage and family memories that are now gone," he said.

Leaving brides like Linda, just months away from walking down the aisle, scrambling for a new location to tie the knot. 

But in the midst of one family's tragedy, Linda got a reassuring phone call.

"That meant a lot. She said we're working on trying to find some alternate plans for you, we're going to work with you. So it made me feel a lot better," she said. 

A small testament of how the Woods care for their brides.

She may not know where she will say 'I do" on May 20th, but Linda does know one thing.

"As long as he's at the end of that aisle, I'll be alright."

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.


PREVIOUS STORY: A popular wedding venue in North Georgia is destroyed after an early morning fire. 

It happened Wednesday at General Woods Inn on Deer Head Cove Road. 

Firefighters were met with a locked gate around 4:30 Wednesday morning. 

Crews say a lack of fire hydrants in the area also made it hard to do their jobs, the nearest one 3,000 feet away but the fire chief says even without those obstacles the home still would have been a total loss. 

Retired Army General Bob Woods and his wife stand before a heap of debris and white smoke. 

A few hours earlier, hot orange flames could be seen shooting into the air from a mile and a half away. 

By the time firefighters got there, South Dade Fire Chief Roger Woodyard said it was too late. 

"There's nothing else to do. Everything was gone. There was nothing in it that appeared we could save for the homeowners," Woodyard said. 

It took a matter of seconds to destroy what took this couple more than 30 years to create.

"In this home, it was 35 years of marriage and family memories that are now gone and that's a challenge," Ret. Gen. Woods said. 

Hundreds of other families share memories here too. Not only was this a home but also a popular wedding venue. Woods said their first wedding of the year was scheduled for April.

"It happened now, at least there are a couple of months that we can help a bride or make some recommendations about what she can do," he added.

It's now the fire marshal's job to figure out a cause as the Woods family start to put their lives and business back together. 

If you had an event scheduled at General Woods Inn, the owners will work with you about what happens next. 

No one was hurt in the fire. 


PREVIOUS STORY: A popular Rising Fawn wedding venue was damaged in a fire early Wednesday morning.

Fire crews responded to the General Woods Inn on the 1300 block of Deer Head Cove Road around 4:30 Wednesday morning. 

No word yet on the extent of damage received or if anyone was injured. 

Powered by Frankly