Gatlinburg may be over 300 miles away from Dayton, but many area residents are following news of the tragic events there closely. Many people in the Miami Valley have traveled to Gatlinburg in the past and have fond memories of the area. Dayton-area residents are sharing their feelings about the event on social media.
On the WHIO Facebook page, Tina Weber wrote, “This is so sad and feel so bad for all these people who have lost everything, But when we think our lives are in havoc just look around and see what other people are going thru and how luck by the grace of god we have it .Its just heart breaking , Tennessee is my home state.”
On the Dayton Daily News Facebook page, LelahRae Cutone wrote, “This is our heaven on earth and have wedding planned for May of next year and lost our wedding cabin yesterday and the chapel ”.
Melissa Leaman posted her reaction on her own Facebook page.
Ripley’s Aquarium, home to over 10,000 animals, was threatened by the fire. Employees were forced to evacuate and leave the animals behind when flames came within 50 yards of the facility. On the Dayton Daily News Facebook page, Lacey M Rusch said, “My husband is there helping with these fires and he said that law enforcement officials have had to physically remove people from certain areas because they didn't want to leave the animals. You have people risking their lives to save homes and other structures. It's devastating to see. #thinkbeforeyoupost ”.
Laura Allison wrote, “I would have stayed too. As a veterinarian, I could never leave them behind.”
An update from the aquarium’s Facebook page states: “We have a team of Marine Biologists and Life Support Experts inside the Aquarium and are happy to report that the animals are safe.”
>> Related: Latest Updates from Gatlinburg
Gatlinburg’s fire chief says the worst is over. The next step is to clean up and rebuild, but it will still be a long time before the area is able to return to its former glory.