Mid-South rallies to help Gatlinburg fire victims - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Mid-South rallies to help Gatlinburg fire victims

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Volunteers with the Red Cross in the Mid-South are headed to Gatlinburg (SOURCE: WMC Action News 5) Volunteers with the Red Cross in the Mid-South are headed to Gatlinburg (SOURCE: WMC Action News 5)
GATLINBURG, TN (WMC) -

People in the Mid-South jumped in to help the victims of the Gatlinburg fires.

Cadaver dogs from Tennessee Task Force Once left early Tuesday morning; Red Cross has already sent volunteers and more on getting ready to join them.

They're heading to Gatlinburg for one reason: to help.

"It's about five and a half hours," Red Cross Volunteer Bob Wallace said when talking about how long the drive would be to reach Gatlinburg.

Wallace hit the road Tuesday for the fire devastated area in East Tennessee. 

"I find it personally rewarding and something that I can do in my retirement years that's meaningful," Wallace said. 

He's the first Memphis volunteer from the American Red Cross who loaded up and headed east.

"Almost teary eyed when I think about what these folks have gone through," Wallace said.

When he saw the images of destroyed business and the deadly fire, which killed three people, ravaging the area, he knew he had to go.

"It must have been terrifying having to escape from all of that," Wallace said.

Corky's BBQ, based in Memphis, sent a check to help the local Red Cross chapter in Gatlinburg.

Six K-9s and five volunteers are on the ground right now in East Tennessee from the Tennessee Task Force in the Mid-South.  Memphis Fire Department Lieutenant Wayne Cooke said the dogs and their handlers are working on search, recovery, and rescue efforts.

"You can imagine these special memories being stopped by such a tragic incident like this," Laura Vaughn, American Red Cross from Memphis Chapter, said. 

The American Red Cross and Shelby County emergency crews have people on standby.

"We'll send as many as we need to so we're just waiting for that phone call," Vaughn said.

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