Viral photo: Firefighters exhausted after battling Tenn. wildfires

Chief Mark Scott said crews had probably been up 18 to 30 hours and just flaked out on the sidewalk


By FireRescue1 Staff

GATLINBURG, Tenn. — A viral photo of exhausted firefighters asleep on a sidewalk surfaced this week, shedding light on the vicious and persistent wildfires that have been plaguing Tennessee.

The photo, posted Wednesday, shows Johnson City firefighters taking a break and napping on the ground next to their engines. The photo has been shared over 26,000 times.

“They had probably been up probably 18 to 30 hours by then, so they were approaching a level of exhaustion. They had went to the point of having to sit down, we had some food,” Johnson City Fire Chief Mark Scott told WDTN. “And I guess as soon as we had the food, it hit them and everybody was just kind of flaked out on the sidewalk.”

The department was one of many fire crews sent to battle the now 15,000-acre wildfire in the Gatlinburg area. Seven people have been killed and over 400 buildings were burned. 

All of the Johnson City firefighters returned home safely.

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