- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 18, 2017

GATLINBURG, Tenn. (AP) - State officials say insurance claims have topped $842 million in the deadly eastern Tennessee wildfires that burned thousands of buildings.

The Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance provided the number to the Knoxville News Sentinel (https://bit.ly/2j9JBHS ).

The department says as of Jan. 6, the Gatlinburg-area wildfires resulted in more than 3,900 claims and more than $842 million in residential and commercial property losses.

The numbers don’t include damages to uninsured structures.

In mid-December, Sevier County Mayor Larry Waters estimated damages at more than $500 million. Previously, 2,460 structures were deemed damaged or destroyed.

On Nov. 28, gale-force winds spread wildfires to the Gatlinburg area, killing 14 people.

Federal Emergency Management Agency spokesman Michael Peacock says FEMA has approved $2.5 million in wildfire-related grants as of Tuesday.

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Information from: Knoxville News Sentinel, https://www.knoxnews.com

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