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Officials: 81 buildings, 161 acres burned in Sevier Co. mountain fire

Sevier County officials now say that 81 buildings were destroyed or damaged in that massive 161 acre fire in the Black Bear Ridge Resort off Wears Valley Road.

Rain on Monday afternoon finally helped extinguish the blaze, which 300 firefighters and emergency workers from nearly 50 agencies had battled for nearly 24 hours.

Everyone staying in the mountain homes were evacuated, and none of them were hurt. Two firefighters were injured, on for heat exhaustion and the other for an ankle injury.

Man accused of killing two in church van crash pleads not guilty to robbery

The man accused of being high on bath salts during a deadly crash with a church van pleaded not guilty to unrelated burglary and weapons charges in federal court on Tuesday.

He also qualified for a court-appointed attorney.

Firefighters fatigued following Sevier Co. blaze

A massive Sevier County fire took its toll on the firefighters who worked around the clock to put it out.

The blaze started around 4 p.m. Sunday and lasted until Monday evening before strong rains helped to finally put it out. Some firefighters had been attacking it just minutes after it engulfed its first Pigeon Forge cabin.

According to Pigeon Forge Fire Chief Tony Watson most firefighters who worked the incident only got anywhere from one to two hours of sleep.

However, he said it's a type of stress most people who work in that service get used to.

Volunteers work overnight to feed firefighters

Firefighters worked overtime to put out Pigeon Forge's damaging fire that destroyed nearly 60 cabins. But community volunteers also went without sleep to make sure those firefighters were well taken care of.

"I watched five cabins catch on fire in less than 30 minutes," said Shelia Valentine, a volunteer first responder with Walden Creek Volunteer Fire Department and Sevier County Rescue Squad.

Dumplin Creek developers talk interstate funding

Developers of a major retail project near Sevierville say funding for new interstate ramps onto the property are very important.

Neyland Land Associates reached a preliminary agreement to buy the land for Dumplin Creek near exit 407 along I-40.

Managers held a workshop for the public Monday explaining how they hope to pay for a new interstate exit. They're asking the City of Sevierville to pay $4 million for the new roads while applying for another $4 million from the state.

Update: Fire 'mostly out' after rain moves through area

Update 5:50 p.m.

Firefighters say the fire is mostly out, and less than five acres are still burning. They say rain did the job.

Firefighters are being pulled off the mountain. 

A skeleton crew from Forestry, Knox and Roane County will monitor tonight.

Update 4:09 p.m.

Resort owners discuss economic future after fire

The Pigeon Forge fire destroyed nearly half of the cabins at Black Bear Ridge Resort. Fifty-nine out of 138 cabins are beyond repair. 

According to Black Bear Ridge Resort, 90 to 100 people own the cabins.

Joyce Whaley McCarter developed the resort with her brother, starting in 2002. Earlier this week, they finished construction on a couple houses.

Black Bear Ridge Resort spent much of Monday notifying owners on the status of their homes.