Middle TN firefighters helping with aftermath of wildfires - WSMV News 4

Middle TN firefighters helping with aftermath of wildfires

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Gatlinburg city officials said more than 200 firefighters are still on the ground in East Tennessee, helping residents deal with the aftermath of massive wildfires.

Dozens of those volunteers hail from Middle Tennessee.

Channel 4 spoke to volunteers from the Brentwood Fire Department. On Wednesday morning, they were checking homes on Pine Mountain in Pigeon Forge to assess damages and ensure no one was still inside cabins.

In one instance, the fire line stopped just 15 feet short of a cabin. Other structures did not survive the flames.

“There’s a few cabins still standing in the areas we’ve been in,” said Lt. John LoPiccolo, of the Brentwood Fire Department. “But the ones that are damaged from what we’ve seen, it’s a total loss, nothing but the foundations.”

Other crews focused on extinguishing everything from small brush fires to electrical fires.

Many volunteers said they came in part because they love what so many others love about the Smokies.

“We all come up here as families, and you recognize a lot of the stuff up here,” said Chief Terry Hood, of the Spring Hill Fire Department. “But now you’re looking at it with smoke and burned buildings and burned cars.”

As much-needed rain continued to fall in East Tennessee on Wednesday, LoPiccolo said the weather conditions at times made it more difficult to trek deeper into the mountains.

“It’s just dangerous because we have no footing. We’ll get halfway up, then slide down,” LoPiccolo said. “It’s an effort getting to the fire itself.”

But the volunteers made it clear they will stay as long as they are needed.

“That’s what the fire service is all about, brotherhood,” Hood said.

“It just means everything to us to be able to have the ability to come out and assist other fire departments,” LoPiccolo said. “Because I know, without a shadow of a doubt, if we were in trouble, they would lend a hand, also.”

Firefighters from Williamson County, Sumner County, Murfreesboro, Nashville and Clarksville also traveled to East Tennessee.

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