Several Sevier County commissioners said last week they doubted any construction standards would have mitigated loss from a fire as big and fast-moving as the one that devastated Gatlinburg, killing 14 people and damaging or destroying more than 2,400 structures.
But research says the choice of materials, distance from trees, and accessibility to firefighters can greatly increase survival of people and buildings. Most of those are not mandated in Sevier County, though some are recommended.
"Something like this, I don't know what kind of building codes you could have that would have helped," Commissioner Phil King said.
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