‘Flames have burned up all the trees of the field’: Gatlinburg fire worker discovers charred page of the Bible that gives him ‘goosebumps’

Dollywood employee discovers charred remains of page from book of Joel

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A Dollywood employee helping with clean-up efforts following the destruction caused by wildfires in Tennessee has been given “goosebumps” after finding a charred page from the bible on the floor.

Three people have died and thousands have been evacuated from their homes due to the wildfires that have ripped through the area around Tennessee’s Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which has ruined more than 150 buildings.  

Wildfires have been burning for several weeks across the drought-stricken South. But Monday marked the first time homes and businesses were destroyed on a large scale, especially in the city of Gatlinburg.

One resident was brought to tears while helping with the clean-up effort at nearby theme park Dollywood, founded by country singer Dolly Parton, when he found a burned and torn page on the floor.

Mr McCord, who works in human resources at Dollywood, found the page in a puddle of water under a bench while he and his colleagues swept an area of the park.

He sat on the bench with an employee and they read through what they realised was a page from the King James bible. The verses are from the first chapter of the book of Joel, which describes how “fire has devoured the pastures in the wilderness and flames have burned up all the trees of the field”.

“We were like this is unreal, this is unbelievable,” Mr McCord told the Knoxville News Sentinel. “When we had both fully read it, we looked at each other – and I will never forget this moment – we both burst into tears. I was ghost white and there was nothing else to do.”

Mr McCord posted a picture of the page on Facebook with the message “talk about goosebumps”. The post has now been shared more than 27,000 times.

The Dollywood park has not suffered any damage but over a dozen cabins attached to the park have been damaged or destroyed. In a message posted on the park’s website, the management stated the grounds would be closed until 2 December.

“After assessing the damage wrought by recent wildfires in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, Dollywood is focusing its efforts for the next two days supporting the community,” the message read.

“Dollywood hosts have joined in supporting the needs of their fellow hosts affected as well as assisting other area businesses in supplying personal care items to the shelter at the LeConte Centre in Pigeon Forge and they continue to feed and house firefighters and first responders.”