Gov. Haslam wants answers after wildfire emergency calls lost - WSMV Channel 4

Gov. Haslam wants answers after wildfire emergency calls lost

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Fourteen people were killed in the wildfires in November 2016. (WSMV file photo) Fourteen people were killed in the wildfires in November 2016. (WSMV file photo)
NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

Gov. Bill Haslam said Tuesday he wants answers after the emergency calls made the day of the Gatlinburg wildfires were lost.

Last week, the News 4 I-Team learned all of those calls made last November were lost. Fourteen people were killed and dozens of others were injured in those fire.

A spokesperson with the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency said due to the amount of calls that day, the system automatically deleted them when it became too full.

The I-Team has been requesting those calls since last November.

Some survivors of the fire spoke out last Friday saying they feel like the state is covering up something. But a forensic examiner hired by TEMA to try to recover the calls said that’s not the case.

The I-Team wanted to speak to the director of TEMA last week about what happened, but he would not speak to us at the time.

Gov. Haslam said Tuesday he hopes something like this doesn’t happen again.

“I don’t want to be there Monday morning quarterbacking, but I do think it’s important to go back and say what were all the critical decisions made along the way? Did we have the right information to make the very best decision we could at that point in time? And if we didn’t have the right information, why not?” Haslam said.

Shortly after the I-Team’s interview with the governor, a spokesperson for TEMA reached out and said Director Patrick Sheehan will sit down next week to answer our questions.

The I-Team will bring you that story when it happens.

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