Photo shows Tennessee wildfires’ toll on those fighting them

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GATLINBURG, Tenn. — Photos have been taken of the devastation from the Tennessee wildfires, from the houses turned to smoky shells to the neighborhoods emptied. Several residents have been displaced and dispossessed.

But a photo shows the effect the fires raging through Gatlinburg, Tenn., are having on the people who bear the weight of containing them.

The Johnson City Professional Firefighters Association posted this picture on its Facebook page.

It shows five firefighters asleep on the sidewalk, their heads resting on their gears. They had just returned from battling the blaze for 30 consecutive hours.

“They had went to the point of having to sit down, we had some food. And I guess as soon as we had the food, it hit them and everybody was just kind of flaked out on the sidewalk,” Johnson City Fire Chief Mark Scott told WDTN.

The Johnson City Fire Department was one of many agencies from Northeast Tennessee who sent crews to battle the 15,000-acre Gatlinburg fire that devoured more than 400 buildings and killed at least seven people.

All of them returned home safely.