Most evacuees return home after Gatlinburg explosion

By: Courtney Elledge Email
By: Courtney Elledge Email

GATLINBURG, Tenn. (WVLT) -- The 35 people evacuated from their condos have safely returned home after an explosion, while three others are recovering at nearby hospitals.

The blast happened at Tree Tops Condos around 7:15 Saturday night.

Gatlinburg Fire Chief Greg Miller said, "Right now we're performing the investigation to determine where along the gas line that the breach may have occurred to release the gas. We have at least determine that it was a gas explosion."

The blast damaged three buildings, and scared a lot of people in the area.

"It shook the hole building. It shook the windows," said witness Marce Strickland.

Since the explosion was undetectable, officials decided it would be best to put evacuees in temporary housing for the night.

They've since returned, but crews worked all day Sunday to pinpoint the start of the gas leak.

The complex's developer says that buildings can be replaced, but precious lives can't.

"I just pray that they're going to be okay. That's our main concern right now," said Tree Tops Resort developer Charlie Anderson.

For now, he hopes fire crews will figure out which boiler the explosion came from, so it can't happen again.

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