Gatlinburg aquarium: 'Animals are safe' after devastating Tennessee wildfires


Wildfires fueled by high winds roared through parts of the Great Smoky Mountains, burning the doorstep of the Dollywood theme park, destroying a resort and chasing thousands of people from their homes. In its ashy wake were scorched cars and buildings, and soot-covered debris covered in a smoky haze, The Associated Press reported.

>> PREVIOUS STORY: Gatlinburg wildfire threatens Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies; employees forced to abandon building

But Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies posted a hopeful update Tuesday afternoon: All its animals are safe.

"For the safety of our employees and guests, all of our Attractions will remain closed until the evacuation has lifted," the property said in a Facebook post. "We have a team of Marine Biologists and Life Support Experts inside the Aquarium and are happy to report that the animals are safe."

>> Read the post here

For the safety of our employees and guests, all of our Attractions will remain closed until the evacuation has lifted....

Posted by Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies on Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Ryan DeSear, general manager of the aquarium, also spoke to the Knoxville News-Sentinel

"All is fine here at Ripley's Aquarium. Obviously, the city has had a lot of problems, and it has been very hard for us to get into this building, but all the animals are fine. Life support's working great, and the building is coming along just fine, so we're very positive moving forward that we're not going to have any issues."

He added, "We're very grateful, obviously, to all the people that have been working these fires. ... All is good. We got very lucky here at the aquarium, and we look forward to getting back to business as usual when the time comes."

>> Watch the video here

Earlier reports were harrowing.

>> PREVIOUS STORY: Dollywood, other Tennessee tourist destinations evacuated due to wildfires

“We are still not allowed into the city at this time,” the property posted as flamed crept closer to Gatlinburg. “I know our Biologists are trying to get into the city as quickly as they can. We will post updates as soon as we have them.”

>> Read more trending stories

The aquarium also shared DeSear's video showing the town under smoky siege:

Arsonists need to go to prison for a long time

Posted by Ryan DeSear on Monday, November 28, 2016

– The Cox Media Group National Content Desk contributed to this report.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Nation & World

NFL championship games 2018: What time, what channel, odds for Jags vs. Patriots and Vikings vs. Eagles
NFL championship games 2018: What time, what channel, odds for Jags vs. Patriots and Vikings vs. Eagles

We are one day out from “Championship Sunday,” where the teams who will play in the Super Bowl will be determined. The Minnesota Vikings will take on the Philadelphia Eagles for the NFC Championship, while the New England Patriots play the Jacksonville Jaguars for the AFC title. If the Vikings win, they will be the first team to ever play...
Mar-a-Lago fundraiser to go on as scheduled; Trump stays in D.C.
Mar-a-Lago fundraiser to go on as scheduled; Trump stays in D.C.

President Donald Trump will not attend a $100,000-per-couple political fundraiser at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach tonight because of the federal government shutdown. “There is no plan to go to Florida while there is a shutdown,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told The Palm Beach Post. The fundraiser will...
Hundreds of protesters gather in Palm Beach for president’s one-year in office
Hundreds of protesters gather in Palm Beach for president’s one-year in office

Update 2:00 p.m.: President Trump posted a tweet about today being “a perfect day for all Women to March” to celebrate lowest female unemployment in 18 years.  Women’s marches are happening this weekend in cities across the country in protest of Trump’s election.  <div></div><br><...
Congress at work on a Saturday as lawmakers try to end shutdown quickly
Congress at work on a Saturday as lawmakers try to end shutdown quickly

Hours after funding lapsed for the federal government at midnight, lawmakers in both parties returned for an unusual Saturday session of the House and Senate, as both parties quickly launched themselves into finger pointing over who is to blame for the first government shutdown since 2013, with few signs that a deal was near...
Drake makes surprise appearance at Memphis nightclub
Drake makes surprise appearance at Memphis nightclub

He may have started from the bottom, but rapper Drake is making headlines after doing one dance that started in the Bluff City. According to party promoter Curtis Givens, the Grammy winner called him wanting to have a private party at In LOVE Memphis, a popular nightclub. Givens said it was a last minute call, but he and his business partner were up...
More Stories