Dunlap firefighters & other local agencies lend support to Gatli - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Dunlap firefighters & other local agencies lend support to Gatlinburg

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DUNLAP, TN (WRCB) -

Among the hundreds of first responders who are helping to fight the fires and recover from the devastation, many of them are from the Chattanooga area.

The Dunlap Fire Department sent five volunteer firefighters to Gatlinburg where they worked for four long days, helping to fight the deadly wildfires.

"We were just a small part of a very big effort up there, there was over 100 departments that lended aid," said Firefighter Chris Walker.

During Gatlinburg's time of need, firefighters across the state volunteered.
    
In Dunlap, firefighters Jody Lockhart, Mark Easterly, Rodney Smith, Chris Walker, and Dan White made the trip.

"Of course the first five that responded back was the first five that went and several more, just about every other member, expressed an interest in wanting to go," Walker said.

Walker took time off from his job at the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office.
    
He and four other Dunlap firefighters spent four long days fighting off flames. 

"Tuesday was our longest day once we got up there that was about a 32-hour shift that we pulled," he said.

And searched the devastated areas for survivors.

"One night we did over 10 hours of search and rescue," Walker said, "Which was going door to door, from everything to a house to a 15-story hotels, checking to see to make sure everybody came out."

Walker said they would check on remaining homes to make sure everyone left, and if they stayed, making sure they were out of harm's way.

"You might have somebody come to the door, you might not, you have an unlocked door and you go in and you really, you don't know what you're doing to find when you're in a situation like that," he said.

It's a place they had all vacationed to at one point in their lives. But this trip to Gatlinburg was filled with images of destruction, that caused at least 14 deaths.

"Everything that we saw, it's nothing short of a miracle that number's not higher than what it is already," Walker said, "The amount of loss is overwhelming."

Several other local agencies were also in Gatlinburg helping out to fight the fires, including firefighters from different agencies in Hamilton and Bradley counties. Some of those include Cleveland Fire Department, Soddy Daisy Fire Department, Walden Ridge FD, East Ridge, Chattanooga Fire Department, and Sale Creek Fire and Rescue.

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