Couple ties the knot one day after East Tennessee fire

News

SEVIERVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – Just one day before their wedding, a local couple lost their Sevierville apartment in a fire.

A section of Riverpark Apartments off Old Knoxville Highway caught fire Friday afternoon. Flames were seen shooting through the roof of the three-story building.

The blaze happened just hours before a local couple’s rehearsal dinner and one day before their wedding.

WATE 6 On Your Side reporter Elizabeth Kuebel spoke to that couple after going through a whirlwind weekend of emotions. But Lauren and Justin Smith didn’t let the fire stop them from celebrating their big day.

They said they’re still emotional but tackling this next hurdle together, as husband and wife.

“We had no idea what was going to come next. Of course I’m thinking his suit is in our apartment, all of our decorations are in there, everything to prepare our wedding was in there basically, except my wedding dress,” Lauren said.

But with the help of first responders who were able to save a bag full of decorations, and the clothing company that over-nighted a new tux, the Smith wedding went on as planned.

In fact, the couple said it was perfect.

“We just tried to forget it for a day so that we could enjoy ourselves, because after waiting for this moment for six years, we couldn’t let this tragedy ruin our day,” said Lauren.

It’s obviously not the wedding weekend they imagined. They weren’t able to go home to their apartment, which is damaged by water and smoke.

“We were told there was probably 2 to 3 inches of water in the floor, most furniture is unsalvageable, and it looks like a tornado ran through,” she said.

But the couple was determined to not let that stop them.

Because even if they had nothing else, they have each other. Now, they’re taking on the next challenge, together.

“Even though it was tragic at first, it turned into something so memorable and so wonderful that we got to share with our family and friends,” said Lauren.

The Smiths will stay in a Sevierville hotel for the week, until they leave for their honeymoon on Friday. Their next step is figuring out where they’ll live.

They also said they’re thankful to so many people in the community who have reached out and offered help and to the first responders who battled Friday’s fire.

Meanwhile, after the fire at Riverpark Apartments, the Red Cross is asking for help.

Twenty-three of the units were occupied at the time of the fire yet only 16 have reached out to the Red Cross for assistance. If you know anyone who was displaced you can encourage them to call the Red Cross at 865-584-2999.

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