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Gatlinburg still rebuilding two years later

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GATLINBURG, Tenn. (WVLT) -- It had been dangerously dry, and fire in the mountains caught people off guard two years ago in Gatlinburg. Fourteen people died in those wildfires and so many more lost their homes and everything they owned.

"It was like you can't even imagine,"
Jason White said.
"It was like a war zone."

He remembers what this mountain he grew up looked like nearly two years ago as it was engulfed with flames.

"Telephone poles snapped, power lines on the streets, all the houses gone,"
White said.
"My former house gone, everybody on this side of the mountain house just gone."

Back in 2016 flames ripped through Gatlinburg, burning hundreds of businesses and homes including those in Chalet Village. White helps manage rentals and sells property in the neighborhood.

"This was the hardest hit neighborhood that night, about 550 homes burned,"
White said.

Two years later, several have already been rebuilt many by new owners.

"There's a lot of new construction, a lot of new blood, it's a beautiful neighborhood. This view behind us is fantastic,"
White said.
"There's not many neighborhoods with this kind of view."

While the fires may have destroyed buildings, it didn't crush this mountain town's spirit.

"The people that build those houses are saying this neighborhood's important to them, this town's important to them,"
White said.