GATLINBURG, Tenn. (WATE) — A building destroyed by fire Sunday in downtown Gatlinburg has been torn down and the investigation into the cause continues.
One person was found dead Sunday, after crews worked for hours to put out the fire in the 700 block of Parkway.
The damaged building — home to at least four businesses —was torn down Monday because officials deemed it unsafe. The building sat on about three acres in the heart of Gatlinburg, according to Sevier County online property records. It is valued on the market at more than $6 million, those records say.
The Parkway, closed for nearly two days, has now reopened. Sidewalks have mostly reopened as well, and on Monday, passersby were shocked to see the burned structure.
Hope Russ is visiting Gatlinburg from Florida.
“As we were coming up yesterday or two days ago, we got a message from our landlord saying don’t come through downtown Gatlinburg because there’s a fire, a major fire,” she said. “It was sad enough to know that a building burned down, but to know that somebody lost their life is really, very sad.”
Pucker’s Sports Grill, owned by Kennedy Concepts, is one of the four businesses now gone. The grill had been open for 23 years.
“You know in your mind that it’s gone but every time another piece comes down your heart is like oh no so,” said Autumn Taylor, director of operations.
The company also owns several other restaurants on the Gatlinburg strip. Taylor said they’ll place their employees in those businesses until they’re able to rebuild Puck’s.
“We will rebuild. Will come back better and stronger,” she added.
Visitors are sad to see the businesses gone, but say they’re glad the fire didn’t spread.
“We were concerned about how much damage the fire actually caused like it’s within a block of damage so thank goodness for that,” said Linda Tyson, visiting from Greeneville.
Gatlinburg Fire Department, Gatlinburg Police Department and Tennessee Bureau of Investigation are investigating the cause of the fire.