Official: 14 people rescued from Gatlinburg campground after flooding, 400 evacuated
Many agencies responded to multiple water rescues as water rose at Greenbrier Campground in Gatlinburg.
GATLINBURG, Tenn. (WVLT) - Over a dozen people were rescued Tuesday night after flash flooding at Greenbrier Campground in Gatlinburg, according to officials. Additionally, Sevier County representative Perrin Anderson confirmed that more than 400 people were evacuated from the campground.
Just before 11:00 p.m., Gatlinburg Fire Department crews initially responded to a call that 14 people were trapped at the campground due to flooding. At one time, first responders on the scene told WVLT News that the water had gotten as high as a picnic table.
The rising water on Pittman Center Road prompted Sevier County Emergency Management Agency to warn people near the Greenbrier Island area to seek high ground immediately.
“Due to rapidly rising water with recent heavy thunderstorms in the middle prong of the Little Pigeon River near Pittman Center in southern Sevier County, folks near the Greenbrier Island area and anyone downstream may need to seek higher ground immediately. Do not attempt to drive over water-covered roads,” Sevier County EMA stated.
Crews rescued the individuals and they were taken out of the area successfully. However, officials told WVLT News they were continuing to search for others.
A temporary evacuation shelter was opened at the Pittman Center Elementary School for those displaced by the flooding overnight. The American Red Cross responded to the shelter and assisted those in need, officials said. A total of 69 people took shelter there.
In a 2:00 a.m. update, the agency said water was continuing to recede; however, individuals around the middle prong of the Little Pigeon River needed to remain cautious as water could remain on some roads and low-lying areas.
Pigeon Forge Fire Department, Gatlinburg Fire Department, Sevier County Rescue Squad and multiple other agencies showed up to help those stranded.
There are no reports of injuries or the number of people stranded at this time, SCSO officials said. SCEMA officials took to Facebook Wednesday morning to give an update on damage in the Pittman Center area. They said that cleanup is underway, and officials will be on scene assessing damage.
Courtney with the Greenbrier Campground told WVLT News that they hoped the campground would be reopened within a week.
“We have to ensure all utilities (electricity, water, sewer, etcc..) are safe and working properly,” Courtney said. “Also, every site has to be cleaned of debris and resurfaced.”
Officials also told WVLT News that as of Wednesday night, they were still looking for one car that floated away.
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