2 juveniles charged for role in starting Gatlinburg wildfire

TENNESSEE (WATE/WJBF) – TBI Director Mark Gwyn announced Wednesday two juveniles have been charged with starting the deadly wildfires in Sevier County. The two were arrested Wednesday morning and charged with aggravated arson. They are being held in the Sevier County Juvenile Detention Center. A detention hearing is scheduled within 72 hours and additional charges could be filed.

District Attorney General Jimmy Dunn says it is being considered whether to transfer the case to adult court.

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.

Of the fourteen deaths, 13 victims have been identified. Those victims are:

  • Elaine Brown, 81
  • Alice Hagler, 70
  • Constance Reed, 34
  • Lily Reed, 9
  • Chloe Reed, 12
  • Jon Summers, 61
  • Janet Summers, 61
  • Reverand Ed Taylor, 85
  • John Tegler, 71
  • Marilyn Tegler, 70
  • May Vance, 75
  • Bradley Phillips, 59
  • Robert Hejny, 63

Governor Bill Haslam said this is the largest fire in 100 years in Tennessee. Gatlinburg city administrators said any mobile device in Gatlinburg got emergency notice about fire at 9:04 pm Monday. The National Weather Service says no mobile alert went out. Leaders said they are looking into why some people didn’t get alerts and examining their evacuation procedures.

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