Middle TN fire crews leave to fight wildfires - WSMV News 4

Middle TN fire crews leave to fight wildfires

Posted: Updated:
Nashville firefighters prepare to deploy to East Tennessee. (WSMV) Nashville firefighters prepare to deploy to East Tennessee. (WSMV)

Nashville firefighter Stan Bailey came to work Tuesday thinking he would do some organizing around the fire hall. Little did he know, when he got there, he'd be deployed to Pigeon Forge to help fight massive and deadly fires sweeping through Gatlinburg and surrounding East Tennessee.

"They're not giving us a date line on this trip, so we might be there two days, a week. Might be back tomorrow night, who knows," Bailey said.

He and 14 other Nashville firefighters and emergency personnel packed their cars to the brim to head east after a receiving an early morning call from TEMA requesting dozens of crews come assist.

"You can see I'm loaded up back here," said district fire chief Tim Moyers. "We've got motor oil, washer fluid. This is just extra gear back here," he added, sifting through the trunk of his vehicle.

"We are sending two chiefs. We are sending a total of 14 people. We are sending an EMS chief and two people on a med unit, and we are sending two captains with full crews," Moyers said.

The call to action was so swift, some family members had to step in to help. Denise Kirby has been married to a Nashville firefighter Ryan Kirby for 20 years.

"I brought him clothes and things like that that he needed to take with him," Denise Kirby said. "He didn't have time to come home to get what he needed so I brought it all back home for him so he can go."

She said she still gets a little nervous when her husband's station leaves on tours like these.

"I have very, very mixed emotions, but I know that they're doing the right thing. They're serving their Nashville Fire Department in the right way and going to put out those fires," Denise Kirby added.

Before they left, the Nashville firefighters had a meeting to strategize, discussing the challenges they could face with communications and how to work in the mountainous environment.

Moyers said so many other firefighters wanted to go but weren't on the shift that was selected. He said they are all eager to help.

"Any time you have any kind of disaster like this, this is what this is, we help each other out," Moyers said.

There was a similar tone in Brentwood where firefighters had just returned from South Pittsburg last Tuesday after a 10-day stint in East Tennessee. Tuesday morning, 35 people deployed from stations in Williamson County representing Brentwood, Spring Hill, Franklin and Williamson fire departments. They brought ladder trucks, tankers, engines pickups and brush trucks.

Firefighters in Murfreesboro left as well.

Officials with the National Park Service say the Smoky Mountain fires were caused by people. They are investigating to see if they were set intentionally or not.

All across the state, fire officials are battling clear cases of arson.

The Tennessee Department of Agriculture's Forestry firefighters say they are fighting 68 wildfires right now across Tennessee. Forty-eight of the 68 fires are believed to be the result of arson. Those numbers do not include the Smoky Mountain fires.

As of this week, the Department of Agriculture's crime unit has arrested six people for arson. Eighteen people have been given citations and four other people have been issued warnings for wildland or agricultural arson.

State agriculture officials say they do not believe 48 arsonists have set individual wildfires. They say in some cases, one single arsonist will set numerous fires.

Copyright 2016 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly
Powered by WorldNow CNN
All content © 2018, WSMV; Nashville, TN. (A Meredith Corporation Station) . All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices.