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Juveniles charged in Sevier wildfire still awaiting court appearance

The two juveniles accused of setting the fire in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park that eventually grew out of control and tore through Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge are still awaiting their first court appearances.

Last week, Sevier County District Attorney General James Dunn announced that two juveniles had been arrested on charges of aggravated arson in connection to the Chimney Top 2 Fire that was sparked on November 23rd. Since the two people charged with starting the fire are juveniles, authorities are not releasing their names or ages. Last week, Dunn said they are from Tennessee, but not Sevier County. Friday, citing sources close to the investigation, the News-Sentinel reported that the teens are from Anderson County. One is said to be a 17-year-old whose father is reportedly an Anderson County Sheriff’s Department employee while the other is a 15-year-old. Neither the Sheriff’s Office nor the TBI have confirmed that report.

The fire grew wild on November 28th, as hurricane force winds pushed it beyond the park’s perimeter and into nearby communities. 14 people died as a result of the fires, 191 people were treated for illnesses or injuries related to the fires and 2460 structures were either damaged or destroyed.

Currently, the suspects remain in custody at the Sevier County Juvenile Detention Center as they await their initial court appearance. Last week, Dunn said additional charges are possible, and there is the possibility of the juveniles being tried as adults.

About Jim Harris

Jim Harris has been WYSH's News & Sports Director since 2000. In addition to reporting local news, he is the play-by-play voice for Clinton High School football, boys' and girls' basketball and baseball. Catch Jim live weekdays beginning at 6:20 am for live local news, sports, weather and traffic plus the Community Bulletin Board, shenanigans with Ron Meredith and more on the Country Club Morning Show on WYSH & WQLA. Jim lives in Clinton with his wife Kelly and daughter Carolina, his mother-in-law and cats Lucius and Oliver.

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