Firefighter sees own house burn while battling Gatlinburg wildfires

Pete Thompson, a firefighter and EMT, watched helplessly as his home was engulfed in flames while he rushed to an emergency call nearby.

Two juveniles have been arrested and charged in the Tennessee wildfires that killed 14 people and destroyed or damaged more than 1,700 buildings including the two-story house where Thompson and his wife and two daughters lived for the last eight years, according to WATE.

"My heart sunk," he told CNN. "There was nothing I could do because I was responding to a 911 call."

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Thompson was working Nov. 28 when fires spread through his neighborhood. He continued helping others knowing everything was going up in flames.

"It was pushed to the point where we questioned ourselves if we wanted to do this, and it made us stronger people," Thompson told WBIR. "It made us resilient, and proved this is what we want to do."

Thompson went back the next day to find his home a pile of smoldering rubble.  Undaunted, he said he plans to rebuild his home where the old one once stood.

"You are not going to run me away," Thompson told WATE. "Gatlinburg strong. It is what we are."

A GoFundMe page was setup to help Thompson and his family.