Family By The Ton preview: Meet retired firefighter Ed Barnes, TLC’s newest star

On the next episode of Family By The Ton, we are introduced to a new family member in the King clan who is part of the collective weight loss journey.

Cousin Ed Barnes is a devoted and loving family man and former firefighter who adores his family and desperately wants to get healthy to be there for them all. He has three school-aged children.

Ed Barnes has seen awful things as a former firefighter, worsening his food addiction. Pic credit: TLC

Barnes is a former firefighter for more than 29 years who just retired. In our clip he recalls his journey to where he is today and realizes he needs to shed the weight.

Ed was born and raised in Jackson, Georgia. After high school, he was hired by the local fire department.

In a series of photos shown in the clip, we see that Ed was a husky kid who became a bigger teen, and his weight loss seemed to spiral after he was hired by the fire department.

He tells us: “[I] got on with the local fire department and the years working at the fire department it was hard for me. I’ve seen some of the worst
stuff that you probably wouldn’t want to see.”

Telling us the unimaginable, he says: “I had my first fire fatality with two
babies and it’s something I won’t never forget.”

Undoubtedly, being a firefighter is a very stressful job and taxes a person mentally and physically.

Expressing remorse about his current state, Ed notes, “And when I get stressed I like to eat three times a day. My meals will be fast food. Fast food has guided me to the shape that I’m in today and I regret it.”

Barnes needs to drop hundreds of pounds to stay alive. Pic credit: TLC

Recalling a close call with a health scare, he adds, “Towards the last couple of years of being a fireman my weight really got to be a burden on me. There was an incident I was carrying a 50-foot section of hose on my shoulder up a flight of stairs [and] it felt like I was having a heart attack. “

“They rushed me to the hospital that night. That is one of the reasons I retired. I felt it was time for me to move on before somebody got hurt.”

Ed seems quite down emotionally over the fact that he had to retire so young.

“Because of my size, I allowed my weight to make me depressed and all I wanted to do was continue to eat more and more now with my size I’m not just hurting myself…I’m also hurting my children.”

Family by the Ton airs Wednesdays at 10/9c on TLC.

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