GATLINBURG, TN- Update on 6:30 a.m. Tuesday: Tennessee Ripley Attractions General Manager Ryan DeSear said he wasn’t sure if flames reached Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies.
DeSear said the aquarium’s live web camera was still active, and the building was still standing.
“As long as we have fuel in our generators, that aquarium can run on its own,” DeSear said.
Workers at the aquarium were evacuated mostly due to smoke, according to DeSear.
Original Story at 3 a.m. Tuesday: Fire has engulfed at least 30 structures in Gatlinburg late Monday, and one building many people are very concerned about is the Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies.
As of midnight Tuesday, Ryan DeSear, General Manager of the aquarium, told 10News that the building was still standing, that all workers were evacuated, but he is very concerned about the 10,518 animals left behind.
He was one of the last people out of the building at 7:45 p.m. Monday, and said he had to force many of the workers to leave because they didn’t want to leave the animals without help.
“They were force evacuated,” DeSear said. “To them, every animal has a name. You don’t give that up”
Unfortunately, he said, “Nothing is more important than human life. Fish can be replaced. It sucks.”