GATLINBURG, Tenn. (WATE) – A Gatlinburg firefighter’s dedication to his job kept him going the night of the wildfires, even knowing his own home was being consumed by flames.
Gatlinburg firefighter and EMT Pete Thompson drove by his own home last Monday night and saw it on fire. He knew his house was gone, but didn’t stop.
“I noticed there was fire all around,” he said.
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On an EMS call, he saw flames consume his neighborhood and home.
“It was hell on Earth,” he said.
However, he didn’t stop helping others that night, not thinking about what he might come back to.
“It’s my job. It’s what I’m here for. I am here to help people,” said Thompson.
He had to fight through the loss of a place he’s called home for eight years. He found out exactly what happened to it the next day. His two story home was in piles of rubble.
“We are numb. It really hasn’t sunk in,” he said.
Seeing it does bring some closure, however. While he has lost everything, he hasn’t lost the fire inside him to keep going.
“You are not going to run me away. Gatlinburg strong. It is what we are,” Thompson said.
He says he plans to stay in Gatlinburg and rebuild his home in the same spot.