BRENTWOOD, Tenn. (WKRN) – A group from Brentwood Fire & Rescue are among hundreds of firefighters still on the ground in the Gatlinburg area after the largest Tennessee wildfire in a century.
Eight men from the department deployed earlier in the week.
They’ve been doing search and recovery checks in burned out houses and attacking hot spots in the mountains.
It’s a different routine than the guys are used to in Brentwood.
“Wildland firefighting is a whole different type of firefighting than what we’re used to in the city of Brentwood, where we have more structures,” said Lt. John LoPiccolo. “So our biggest challenge is gaining access to the hot spots and getting to the fires.”
The team is navigating unfamiliar terrain roughly 200 miles from home.
But the team says they’ve been receiving incredible support from residents and other agencies.
“I think it would be harder if the people weren’t so friendly here,” Lt. LoPiccolo told News 2 via FaceTime Thursday. “The support here and the thanks that we’ve been given is unbelievable. All day people are bringing food, water, pillows for us. So that has made it easier for us to be here just because everyone is very supportive.”
The teams are working long days, sometimes 12 to 16 hour shifts.
But they’re happy to be helping our neighbors to the east.
“Coming and having the ability and the opportunity to help another department, it’s more our honor than anything. We love doing it and it’s in our blood. This is what we do.”
The team from Brentwood is scheduled to leave Sevier County Friday morning and return home.
But they have volunteered to stay as long as they are needed.