• Share on Facebook
  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Google+
  • Share via Email
ET Sends Help to Gatlinburg in Battling Wildfires: 41 KFD Firefighters, 12 KPD Officers Dispatched 
Personnel and trucks from KFD, Rural/Metro and Karns Fire Department meet at the Knoxville Fire Department Training Center before heading to Gatlinburg to help with firefighting efforts there.

CUTLINE: Personnel and trucks from KFD, Rural/Metro and Karns Fire Department meet at the Knoxville Fire Department Training Center before heading to Gatlinburg to help with firefighting efforts there. 


Communities across Tennessee are rushing firefighters and other support services to Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge as their Smoky Mountains neighboring cities continue to battle wildfires that have destroyed hundreds of homes and businesses.

The City of Knoxville and the Knoxville-Knox County Emergency Management Agency have dispatched emergency personnel and equipment - with additional resources available as needed.

"It's gratifying to know that, in a time of crisis, East Tennesseans will always rally and help a sister city," said Knoxville Fire Chief Stan Sharp. "We've sent 41 firefighters and six pieces of firefighting apparatus since last night, and we're positioned to continue to assist going forward. Our thoughts and prayers are with our firefighting peers in Sevier County and the families they serve."

KFD sent two engines (each capable of carrying 300 gallons of water), two tankers (each carrying 1,500 gallons), a ladder truck and a 4-wheel-drive smaller truck designed to battle brushfires in hard-to-reach areas. The Fire Department also sent three SUV support vehicles to Gatlinburg, and KFD Capts. Mark Wilbanks and Paul Trumpore are helping to staff KEMA's mobile command post.

"The rain has helped," Chief Sharp said, "but the firefighters on the scene will remain extremely busy today."

KFD has sent 6 pieces of firefighting equipment and more than 40 firefighters to help battle the Gatlinburg wildfires.

KEMA Director Colin Ickes and Operations Officer Judy Wasik have been staffing the command post. KEMA also provided transportable radio responders to improve the communication between emergency crews and supervisors.

In addition, the Knoxville Police Department lent its expertise - Lt. Brian Evans, Sgt. Sammy Shaffer and 10 officers. The KPD personnel are helping with command operations and assisting local law enforcement with road closures.

The City's Public Works departments are ready to assist with debris removal or other functions in the coming days if needed.

Knoxville residents wanting to donate lodging, food or supplies - or displaced families needing help - are encouraged to call the City's 211 Help Line. Donations are being accepted by texting REDCROSS to 90999.

Posted by evreeland On 29 November, 2016 at 11:38 AM