Sister of local firefighter killed in line of duty helping Gatlinburg firefighters

By Coleen Harry, WBTV

Wildfires in the mountains have been blamed for at least three deaths in Tennessee
Wildfires in the mountains have been blamed for at least three deaths in Tennessee

When firefighter, Captain Bradley Long, of the Sherrills Ford Fire Department died in the line of duty earlier this year - firefighters from across the country came to stand with his family.

Now, Captain Long's sister is giving back to the fire service.

Amy Shearer said she has been collecting donations for firefighters battling the wildfires in North Carolina. Then, Monday night happened in Gatlinburg.

"It’s unbelievable, spreading like crazy," Shearer said. "The fires here in North Carolina - we were pretty lucky that there was no homes and businesses and all that. There’s already been a lot of businesses involved, families have lost their houses – they’ve lost everything."

Shearer said "I know if my brother were here he would be the first one to say can I go help. Can I go jump in?" she said. "And since he can’t do it – I can’t fight a fire but I can try to help the firefighters that are."

Shearer is asking people to drop off donations by Saturday at noon to the Sherrills Ford Fire Station on Slanting Bridge Road, or the Pineville Volunteer Fire Department south side collection area on Church Street, Pineville.

Shearer said they'd like to take "bottled water, Gatorade, any kinds of snacks, clothing for families that have lost everything, anything that can be used. Shoes, socks, non-perishable items, anything."

As it turns out, Gatlinburg is a special place for the Long family.

"We grew up going up to Gatlinburg a lot, going to Dollywood. It’s a vacation spot for a lot of people so it means a lot to a lot of people," Shearer said. "My parents have had season passes to Dollywood for I don’t know how many years now so they love going to Pigeon Forge. They love going to Gatlinburg. We actually are planning to go December 26 and 27th on a family vacation there. At this point, I don’t know if we will."

One thing she knows for sure. She wants to make a difference for a devastated town and firefighters working to save it.