Tennessee Fires Hit Close To Home

Suspects Arrested For Possible Setting Fires

The uncontrollable fires in Gatlinburg, TN make some of us take a step back and realize what happened in north east Minnesota almost 100 years ago

The fires of 1918 swept across three different county’s burning buildings and homes while also taking dozens of lives.

Fox 21 talked to someone close to the 1918 fires and the fires currently sweeping across the south east.

Rachael Martin is the executive director of the Carleton county historical society.

Over the years Rachael has heard numerous stories of what happened back in 1918, no stories more dramatic than those of her mother. Who would tell her the horror the area went through while she was living in write Minnesota.

“It was a small town, there were flames all around the town and they weren’t sure which direction the fire would come through town, so they had a train engine facing east and a train engine facing west to evacuate in either direction,” says Martin.

It’s hard to imagine what those individuals went through and going through currently in Gatlinburg Tennessee, which is mica for tourism in the south east where Rachael had traveled through on her way to Florida and she says it wasn’t the same beautiful place she remembered.

 “It was dry, it was hot 85 degrees when normally it’s in the 60″s, everything was brown,” says Martin.

Through the trials and tribulations of watching your community go up in flames she recalls her mom telling her that you through tuff times like this you just have to stick together

“Based on our experience here that’s what you do, you have to pitch in, you have to rebuild, you have to try and save the core of your community,” says Martin

As for the latest on how the fires started in the first place.

Two suspects were taken in to custody for allegedly starting multiple fires and that brings the total number of suspects arrested to seven on suspicion of setting forest fires in the last 20 days.

“ALL PICTURES COURTESY OF THE CARLTON COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY”

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