Published Dec 9, 2016
With sadness, grief, anger and relief we report that two teenagers from Tennessee have been arrested in Sevier County, TN, and charged with aggravated arson in the wildfires that raged in the region in November and December, 2016.
4th Judicial District Attorney General Jimmy Dunn stated a bond hearing will be held in Juvenile Court, although the case might be transferred to Criminal Court should prosecutors charge the youths as adults. Dunn did not provide any additional details at that time, apart from the fact that the juveniles were from Tennessee, but not Sevier County.
State law does not allow the release of names or identities of youths charged with crimes, except in limited cases, such as murder. If the accused individuals are remanded to Criminal Court the details of the arson arrests would be made public.
The firestorm that torched Gatlinburg killed at least 14 people and injured 150 more. At one point, reports said more than 1,700 homes and businesses were damaged or destroyed, but that number might rise.
At first, the National Park Service stated that the fire started on the Chimney Tops trail, prior to devastating Gatlinburg, seemed to have been caused by humans.
The Investigative Branch Services of the National Park Service and other agencies have requested information from anyone who hiked in the Chimney Tops area on November 23, 2016, when the first reports about the fires were made.
Gatlinburg is currently open for business. Merchants hope to rekindle the tourism industry, upon which so many residents depend.
Tags: Attractions, Appalachian Trail, News, Crime, Accidents, Closures, Robert Sutherland Travel Writer, Hikers, Hiking Safety, Information, and arson arrest gatlinburg
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Published Dec 1, 2016. Federal authorities have arrested Keith Eugene Mann, of Franklin, NC, for starting two wildfires inside the Nantahala National Forest.