Intense video shows Gatlinburg fires from frontlines

Allie/Steve Coker
Allie/Steve Coker

GATLINBURG (WATE) – While everyone else was evacuating the Gatlinburg fires, brave men and women drove into some of the worst parts to protect the city.

Allie Coker shared video her father, Steve, took in his fire truck Monday night.

“The embers – golf ball sized – coming at us. Limbs were coming in,” said Lt. Steve Coker with the Sevierville Fire Department. “It didn’t seem real. It was like you were almost dreaming.”

He recalled the terrifying moments of fire swarming them on all sides in minutes.

“We were afraid we were going to get trapped in,” he said. “Every minute or two they were getting a call of somebody who was trapped in a vehicle.”

He and his crew worried about their safety and the several families they evacuated, racing right behind them.

“The Gatlinburg radio ambulance radioed back and said, ‘Y’all need to come down now,'” said Lt. Coker.

All of them made it out without a scratch. Looking at the video, his daughter Allie can’t believe it and continues to worry for her dad.

“I was hoping he didn’t have to go back up,” she said.

Lt. Coker ended up working a 65 hour shift. He says teamwork kept them alive.

“It’s a miracle we didn’t have more firefighters hurt,” he said.

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