Fire safety is more important now than ever in the U.S., after two deadly fire-related disasters occurred just days apart in Tennessee and California.
Every year, fires cause wholly $76 million in property loss from hotel and motel fires alone, and wildfires and other building disasters can end up costing much more in damage and can take the lives of many people.
In Knoxville, large fires tore across the Great Smokey Mountains, and burned hundreds of homes and buildings. The flames resulted in roughly 14,000 people fleeing from their towns to safety. People were attempting to outrun the flames, where were spread by wind gusts of nearly 90 miles per hour, eventually making their way to the narrow mountain roadways.
USA Today reports that emergency responders arrived on scene as quickly as possible, but were blindsided by the severity and intensity of the fire.
“It’s the apocalypse,” said Lt. Bobby Balding of the Newmansville Volunteer Fire Department.
“In my 25 years of federal park service, I’ve participated in many fires, but none of that could have prepared me for this,” said Cassius Cash, the superintendent of the park. The flames tore through 50 acres of land over a 24-hour period, starting on Sunday, and by Tuesday afternoon, the National Park Service said the fire spanned more than 15,000 acres.
Fox News reports that another community is in morning after a deadly fire just days after the Tennessee wildfires. In Oakland, after 36 people were killed in a massive blaze that tore apart a converted warehouse during a concert, the entire community is in shock.
“We’re sorry to the families and all the friends that have lost loved ones,” said Derick Ion Almena, the property manager. “I’m only here to say one thing that I’m incredibly sorry and that everything I did was to make this a stronger and more beautiful community and to bring people together.”