TBI: 2 juveniles charged in connection with Gatlinburg wildfires

Sidney James Mountain Lodge in Gatlinburg, Tennessee (Credit: Ashley Biggens via WATE ReportIt!)

GATLINBURG (WIAT/WATE) – Officials Wednesday announced two juveniles have been arrested and charged with aggravated arson for their roles in the Gatlinburg wildfires.

Officials said the fires began in the Chimney Tops area of the Great Smoky Mountains. Both juveniles are in custody, 4th District Attorney of Tennessee James Dunn said.

“Everything is on the table,” Dunn said in regards to additional charges being filed, as well as possibly trying the suspects as adults.

The juveniles are not from Sevier County, but are residents of Tennessee.

Officials in Sevier County say the death toll has now reached 14 in the fires in Gatlinburg and the county. Twelve people died in the fire, a 13th person died from a heart attack while trying to flee the fires and a 14th person died in a car accident while trying to evacuate.

The investigation is active and ongoing, and there are many questions officials could not answer because of the investigation. State and federal investigators, including the ATF, joined forces throughout the investigation, Steve Closer, Chief Ranger of the Smoky Mountain National Park, said.

The district attorney’s office of Sevier County will handle the case.

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