Three victims have been identified by family members, but officials wouldn't confirm those identifications.
"I'll reiterate what a distressing and depressing time it is for all of us and particularly these families,"
"It's one of the most difficult things you can imagine," he said. "I know you're frustrated. If it were my family members, I'd be frustrated."
Firefighters and emergency crews continued to work their way through fire-ravaged remote areas of
About 200 firefighters, including various crews from agencies across the state, remained on the ground, with about 20 percent of the force still fighting flames and the rest focused on the search, he said.
"We're never going to give up hope. I will always hold out hope of a rescue," the fire chief said. "But now we are at hour 65 since the beginning of the fires. We have to come to the realization that the potential is great it will be more of a recovery (of corpses) than a rescue."
Some of the searchers have lost homes and family members of their own. Most stayed at their duties despite being told to take breaks, Miller said.
"Just like me, just like them and just like you, we've never seen anything like this before," he said. "Most people are numb, but they care about finding these people. They're sleeping on the floor. They don't want to go home."
Estimates place the number of homes and businesses damaged or destroyed at more than 700 so far -- about 300 inside the
All fires inside the city limits were out by Thursday with the exception of a few hot spots, Waters said.
Authorities said forecasts of more wind and continued dry conditions mean the danger's not over.
"We don't want any of our recent precipitation to give any false sense of security, because fire is a tremendous beast," Miller said.
Authorities have not released the names of any of the dead, and
Besides the three bodies initially found in
Authorities have not provided a list of residents unaccounted for. The TBI has set up a hotline for people to call at 800-TBI-FIND if they believe a loved one is missing. The hotline has received nearly 100 calls over the past 24 hours, with agents following up about 70 leads from those calls, Earhart said. She gave no details on any specific cases.
Eighty people have been treated at
Fire officials said the damage total includes about 300 buildings inside the
Investigators suspect that fire to be "human-caused," park Superintendent
"The fire is not out," said
Since the fire's start
That changed by
"We went from nothing to over 20-plus structure fires in a matter of minutes," the fire chief said. "I don't have a great understanding of it myself, because it's so unfathomable."
The fire displaced more than 14,000 residents from
The head count at emergency shelters Wednesday night had fallen to 240 people, according to the
Authorities have reopened access to
A curfew will be in place again Thursday from
Besides the search for missing loved ones, calls continue to come in about missing pets. Authorities have asked that information on specific animals be provided to the county humane society at sevierhumane.org or on the society's Facebook page.
Tennessean staff writer
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* Two Sevier County schools closed Thursday
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