Louisvillians feel impact of Gatlinburg blaze

Louisvillians feel impact of Gatlinburg blaze
Fred Korfhage (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Fred Korfhage (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Jason Burnett (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Jason Burnett (Source: WAVE 3 News)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – Fred Korfhage and his family have fond memories from vacations spent at their time share at the Westgate Smoky Mountain Resort in Gatlinburg.

"We actually honeymooned there, my wife and I," Korfhage said.

Korfhage and his wife just paid their 2017 maintenance fees and taxes for the time share.

"It was real beautiful and peaceful," Korfhage said.
Their vacation cabin is gone. It was destroyed by a massive fire that displaced more than 14,000 people. Korfhage, a former firefighter, is thankful he and his family weren't there.

"You don't know what you're faced with," Korfage said. "It's very dangerous. It becomes a tempest so much and a lot of the people, some of the video I've seen, show that too. A lot of people are very blessed to get out."

+ IMAGES: TN wildfires move into Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge
+ Louisville families forced out of Gatlinburg as wildfires hit
+ Gatlinburg wildfires rage on; 3 confirmed dead

Korfhage's vacation home is near Pigeon Forge, where Louisville-based artist Jason Burnett studied. His alma mater, The Arrowmont School, was damaged.
"I feel out of body," Burnett said. "I haven't really had an opportunity to take it all in."

The school is for artists and crafters. Burnett said alumni are sending profits from their work to help rebuild the school.

"The best part is knowing that just the accountability, to know that everybody is safe," Brunett said.

"Money is just a little thing, property is just a little thing, but life is much more important," Korfhage said.
All but two buildings at the Arrowmont School survived the fire. Westgate Smoky Mountain Resort officials said they will be closed until further notice as they assess the damage.

To help victims of Tennessee Wildfires you can donate to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund by clicking here.

Copyright 2016 WAVE 3 News. All rights reserved.