Fire destroys Westgate Resort unit in Gatlinburg
A large fire has destroyed a 32-unit building at Westgate Smoky Mountain Resort in Gatlinburg, according to NBC affiliate WBIR.
At 12:37 a.m. Wednesday, the Gatlinburg Fire Department responded to a structure fire at Westgate Resorts. When firefighters arrived, city officials said they found one of the unoccupied buildings that was in the midst of rebuilding from the Sevier County wildfires engulfed in flames.
People living near the resort shared pictures and video on social media, saying they woke up at 1 a.m. to find a massive fire engulfing one of the units at the resort.
Gatlinburg crews immediately called for assistance from Pigeon Forge and Sevierville fire departments, as well as the Sevier County Volunteer Fire Department.
Crews battled heavy flames and smoke from the roof of the four-story structure. No one was reported to be injured.
As of 5:00 a.m., crews said they had controlled the flames and were going to continue battling and looking for hot spots through the morning. Three ladders, six trucks and 75 workers remained at the scene after the flames were extinguished to control the hot spots.
Guests were evacuated and moved to other accommodations in the area. Two nearby buildings also had to be evacuated as a precaution for smoke.
The cause of the fire is unknown at the moment, according to city officials.
Crews said clean up will take a long time, and it's been a busy morning for them as they had to attend to another fire in the area.
Westgate Resort broke ground on reconstruction in Feb. 2017 after the Nov. 2016 wildfires in Sevier County claimed two-thirds of its buildings in addition to the resort's check-in facility, restaurant and a laundry facility. The rebuilding project was initially expected to take 18-24 months to finish.
Read more: Westgate Resort breaks ground on reconstruction after wildfires
Westgate is one of Gatlinburg's largest employers, and its resort took nearly 17 years to construct before the wildfires claimed most of it.