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Gatlinburg Mayor on Fires: We Will Bounce Back ‘Because We’re Mountain Strong and Our Faith in Jesus Christ’

By Penny Starr | December 5, 2016 | 11:16am EST

Some of the fire damage in

Gatlinburg, Tenn.  (AP) 

Mike Werner, the mayor of Gatlinburg, Tenn.,  said his city would recover from the deadly Smoky Mountain fires because of the people’s tough nature and their Christian faith.

"We're going to rise up," Werner said at press conference on Friday, News Channel 5 Network in Nashville reported. "We're going to bounce back for two reasons: because we're mountain tough and our faith in Jesus Christ."

As of Sunday, the death toll in the fire had risen to 13 and at least 1,000 structures had been destroyed, according to the NewsChannel 5.

An estimated 17,859 acres in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park have been charred, the news outlet reported.

Also in attendance at the press conference expressing their support were Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam, and Sens. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.). The cause of the fire is still under investigation, but officials have said they believe it was human-caused.

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