Wildfires raging in the forests of eastern Tennessee have killed 13 people and damaged nearly 1,000 homes and businesses, Sevier County Mayor Larry Waters told reporters at a news conference on Friday, Sputnik reported.
"It’s certainly distressing and sad to all of us and we are extending our sympathy to all of the families that are involved," Waters said, as quoted on the local television station WBIR. "I can’t describe to you the feelings we have to this tragedy and especially the loss of lives."
Twelve victims were killed by fire while the 13th victim suffered from smoke inhalation and died of heart attack when running from the flames, the mayor explained.
The forest covered area in eastern Tennessee is known for resort towns such as Gatlinburg, where many American families spend their vacations.