According to officials at the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, one driver remained trapped inside his truck as emergency first response agencies made their way through the Ocoee River gorge.
A LifeForce helicopter was dispatched to the area of mile marker 13 along the river to await extrication of at least one patient, according to Gary Verner of PCSO.
Traffic along the east/west lanes of Highway 64 was expected to be shut down for quite a while as rescue operations were completed and a crash investigation initiated.
Cold temperatures overnight could have caused black ice to form along roadways.
Media outlets this morning warned of several areas where black ice had been reported.
n West Polk Fire and Rescue along with the Hiwassee Chapter of the American Red Cross continues to help a family who suffered the loss of their home and belongings during a Christmas Day fire.
Clothing, money and toys have been provided by officials.
According to WPFR Chief Steve Lofty, firefighters responded to Reliance early Christmas morning where a family of five resided. The home was totally engulfed in flames when fire crews began to arrive shortly after 7 a.m., according to Lofty.
The fire, which consumed the wood structure quickly, was believed to have originated in the electrical panel inside the home.
Lofty said the fire went up into the attic and burned the roof, which was also believed to have collapsed, waking the family who got out of the burning structure safely.
Lofty said a fire station was located approximately a quarter-mile from the home, resulting in a quick response; however, due to the nature of the fire beginning in the attic area, the home was 80 percent involved before notifications were made regarding emergency response.
“The community has responded well in helping this family who lost everything Christmas Day,” Lofty said.
“Red Cross was on the scene and provided lodging arrangements and clothing and other items have been donated. Action Video in Benton has been a collection point for all types of donations,” Lofty said.
Lofty also said donations can be taken to 1555 Reliance/Tellico Road.