To: All Owners, Past and Future Guest,
Sorry for the delay in getting an email blast out to everyone with the latest updated news on the Cobbly Nob and Gatlinburg area fires. Monday night, November 28, 2016 at about 6:30pm we had a power outage, which is normal for us. What we didn’t know was that high winds had brought a tree down in Cobbly Nob which in turn brought down a power line which proceeded to sparks and started the fire. The high winds (50-70 mph) turned that spark into a fire storm. By 7pm a mandatory evacuation was ordered. At about 9 pm I I made my way back to Deer Ridge and took the attached picture. The Pittman Center Fire Department was first on site. Every fire department in the county sent trucks and man to fight our fire. By only the grace of God Deer Ridge and our staff and guest were never even affected by the fire. Tuesday morning fire fighters lead me up Deer Ridge to pick up a few things, computer, cash and check books. At that time we had no electric power, eta was 2-5 days at the point. Cobbly Nob was totally close down, no one in or out at all except first responders / firefighters. Officials are concerned the firs will start up again as high winds were once again forecasted. There are still active hot spots and fires in the village.
I set up a computer and phone center at my home until power is restored. I had all DR phone lines forwarded to my cell, what a mistake that was….. we’ve had 43 cancellation today, mostly for this weekend of December 2-4, but also many for the Christmas Holidays. Unfortunately, if power is not restored, we will have more cancellations.
December 1, 2016 was the first day staff members were allowed back up to Deer Ridge. I have assessed our situation and the bottom line is we are very lucky. Right now we have three challenges: One, we have No Electricity, We have processed over 70 cancellations. Unfortunately, the number of cancellations are growing day by day. how can we do our part in helping other less fortunate than us in our area.
Power: Electricity has been out since 6 PM Monday and no one can give us a timeline for restoring power back to the village. Power lines, transformers and poles are down all over the community. Funny thing is if you drive through the golf course up Deer Path Lane and turn on Weber Road and to Deer Ridge you would not have known there was a fire. However once you drive pass our driveway you quickly start to understand how the fire has affected cobbly nob. Today, I received an official count of 91 cabins burned to the ground. They’re reporting 7 deaths related to the fires but to my knowledge none occured in cobbly nob. The big problem is, we do not know how long the power will be off. I’m hearing estimates of 1 to 2 weeks maybe more. Part of the problem is priorities, seems like Gatlinburg it the top priority and Wears Valley and Cobbly Nob are second. KUD, Knoxville Utility Dist has come into help and others are on the way. Today we purchased a generator and now have some power. Kitchen refrigerators and freezers are back cooling and we have not had any food losses. We also have lights in the office and Pam’s computer up and running. Tonight I purchased a Verizon wireless router and we should be back in business tomorrow. Tomorrow we will have an email update to owners and get out the minutes, budget, assessment notices and so forth. Without power we are out of the rental business. So power is a key. Temperatures are dropping into the high 20s and low 30s.so it will be cold with no electrical heat. Also I’m concerned about our pool with no pumps filtering water. So basically Deer Ridge is Closed until power come back on. I am relooking at our staff winter layoff schedule once powers back on.
The maintenance staff is working on cleanup, cutting up downed trees and removing debris. C-Building is missing 200-300 sq ft of shingles due to high winds Monday night.
Cancellations and loss of income- Over the past three days we’ve had two types of phone calls: people freaking out and cancelling and our past guest and owners calling just to check on us and making sure were OK and offering their support. I have started the claims process for loss of income today with our insurance company. I will keep you informed on this as it unfolds. Brainstorm Café and I will start working on the rebuilding of confidence in traveling to the Smokies and reminding everyone the “We Still have the Best View of the Smokies” and Deer Ridge is your home away from home.
What we can do: Many locals and vacation home owners lost their properties and I feel we should offer an excellent nightly rate to help those in need. The Pine Top Lodge was a total lost. Deer Ridge has held many owners meeting at his Lodge. Maybe we could start a re-building fund. The other thing we learned as a result of the fire is that cabins surround by trees were total losses and those without trees made it through. Make a sizable donation to the Pittman Ctr Fire Dept.
Other notables items: Nicole on our front desk did a great job evacuating our Deer Ridge guest Monday night when the order was given. Great Job Nicole! We loss “The Lodge” Cabin, a 7 bedroom 4 ½ bath cabin which was our best revenue generating cabin.
At about 2:00 PM on December 2, 2016 power was restored to Deer Ridge which truly amazing to me after hearing how long it could have been. Now that power is back only thing keeping us from being open for business is the limited access to the Village Cobbly Nob due to hot stops and utility work being done on the mountain. It is my hope to be back open for business by next Monday, December 5, 2016.
Deer Ridge Mountain Resort
Saturday, December 3, 2016
Gatlinburg Golf & Racquet Club was truly blessed to have escaped the fires that destroyed so much of Cobbly Nob and Gatlinburg. We have now learned that the Pittman Center Volunteer Fire Department had hoses in hand down by our waterfall and were valiantly protecting the spread of the fire to our complex. They also had fire hoses in place at the resort, ready to use them if the need arose. To thank them for their fine work, Joe Thomas presented the Captain, Rosemary Nicols, with a sizeable donation last night.
We have learned today that six of our condos received extensive damage from wind and rain. They will have to be closed to arrivals until their ceilings can be repaired. Our roofing company is on their way here to place tarps on the roofs where needed, since rains are expected tonight. There is, by the way, another active fire close to us right now. Helicopters are picking up water from the Bent Creek Golf Course ponds and dumping it on the fire, hoping to contain it.
The office building for the Village of Cobbly Nob, called Pine Top, was completely destroyed by fire. Joe plans to start a donation fund to help rebuild that office. Further details will be provided the week after next. Please consider making a donation when the time comes.
91 of the houses here in Cobbly Nob were destroyed (that was the count as of Thursday). Many of those were rental cabins, but some were permanent residences. These good people have lost everything, and need a place to re-group. We turned one person away on Thursday because we had no water or power at that point, and the Village was allowing only limited access. But now we are open, and many people have cancelled reservations based on the media coverage. Joe would like to offer displaced Cobbly Nob owners (only) a discounted rate at our resort for December, January, February and March. He proposes a nightly rate of $30 for 1 bedroom, $40 for 1 bedroom plus loft and 2 bedrooms, and $50 for 2 bedroom plus loft. If you would like to participate, please reply to my email and I will put your condo on the list.