Town slowly on the rise but fire victims still displaced, struggling

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) The town and businesses in Gatlinburg, Tennessee are slowly starting to get back to normal, but many of those people who were displaced are still having a hard time adjusting to life after the fires.

Mark Molnar's biggest concern is how life has been such a struggle ever since he lost his home in the fires and has been living in shelters since then. He said he is now on the verge of being homeless since he cannot find any affordable lodging around Gatlinburg.

"Trying to find an affordable place to live is a major task in this town. I think I'm just going to have to leave Tennessee soon." Molnar said.

With many lodging areas being booked up this holiday season, Molnar said even if he finds a place to stay, it comes at a hefty price.

One hotel owner discussed how they're still willing to accommodate fire victims, even if it comes to losing some of their holiday business.

"Many people from the area, whether it be a week, or we just had someone check out last week, they stayed for a three week period. I'm sure if the crisis happened again, we'd make the same decision." Holiday Inn General Manager Erek Burkhart said.

The hotel manager says despite the recent fires, he is glad tourists from all over the country have given the area the patronage it needs. He is also glad to be a part of the east Tennessee community helping people get back on their feet.

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