We want to express our deepest sympathy to the two families at 613 and 611 Pigeon Forge who lost everything in the home fires Sunday. Fortunately everyone and pets are safe, but please offer your help to the Cruiz and Menke families during the coming weeks as they face the daunting task of starting over. These families have been our Gatlinburg neighbors for more than 20 years.
In the beginning 9 houses along that part of Pigeon Forge were in danger from the flames and evacuated by Police. The 911 alarm was sounded by neighbors across the street because the homeowners at 613 and 611 and 703 were ALL not home. The wind-whipped fire went across the fields to the east and burned more homes at Boulder Ridge. If the wind had been blowing differently more Gatlinburg homes might have burned. Awesome fire crews saved the day. There, but for fortune, go us all.
What can we learn from today?
Pack and keep in your car an emergency gym bag of clothes, water, personal hygiene items, first aid, and basic medical and home insurance policy info. You should save your insurance agent’s number on your cell phone too. WHY? Both families were gone when the fire started and had nothing with them except their cell phones. They could only watch their homes burn in shock and disbelief. All their possessions were consumed or water damaged. One family had a fire safe that perhaps saved some valuables. Fortunately, both families have relatives in Austin who will provide aid and comfort.
Police may order you to evacuate your home with just minutes to collect items and pets. You may immediately have to walk out the door or leave in your car. Its for your own safety that they do this.
REGISTER all your family cell phones NOW for Pflugerville Police’s emergency alert text service at http://local.nixle.com/zipcode/78660/. Click the sign up button in that page’s upper right corner.
BE ON THE ALERT! The danger from new fires is high and the winds will be blowing again Monday.
As a Neighborhood Association, friends, and neighbors, what do you think we could do to help these families? How could we be better prepared in the future for fires?
Dramatic video on YNN and K-EYE news.