Teens charged with arson in connection to Tennessee wildfires
The teens could be charged as adults, pending an ongoing investigation.
The fires that ravaged Gatlinburg and Sevier County, Tennessee are believed to have been connected to the two teenagers. On Wednesday, authorities confirmed charges of aggravated arson against the minors after “information was developed that two juveniles allegedly started the fire,” the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said in a news release.
Information about the suspected arsonists is sparse as their charges do not allow their ages, genders or names to be released to the public.
“I understand that you have a lot of questions,” District Attorney General Jimmy B. Dunn explained in a news conference. “However, the law does not allow for the disclosure of additional information at this time.”
The investigation is still ongoing, so it is possible that one or both teens will face additional charges or even be tried as adults.
The fires are believed to be Tennessee’s biggest in 100 years, according to WHB. They began November 28, ultimately killing 14 people as well as damaging large amounts of sky lodges, cabins and other tourist attractions that are vital to the region. Some evacuation order relief arrived on Wednesday when Gatlinburg residents were finally allowed to return to their residences full-time, while firefighters continue to try to contain the fire on the mountains, according to the Washington Post.