Firefighters fatigued following Sevier Co. blaze

7:07 AM, Mar 19, 2013   |    comments
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A massive Sevier County fire took its toll on the firefighters who worked around the clock to put it out.

The blaze started around 4 p.m. Sunday and lasted until Monday evening before strong rains helped to finally put it out. Some firefighters had been attacking it just minutes after it engulfed its first Pigeon Forge cabin.

According to Pigeon Forge Fire Chief Tony Watson most firefighters who worked the incident only got anywhere from one to two hours of sleep.

However, he said it's a type of stress most people who work in that service get used to.

"They just dig in," he said. "They get very determined, they just work hard, work their way through it.

Matt Lovitt, the assistant chief of the Caton's Chapel - Richardson Cove Volunteer Fire Department, got a little more than two hours of sleep.

He said the heavy equipment firefighters have to wear make things challenging as well.

"An average set of gear weighs about 30 to 45 pounds, so when you look at that, that's where we have to work," Lovitt said.

Most of the firefighters were relieved from their duties around 6 p.m. However, Watson said about 10 people will be monitoring the situation throughout the night.

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