Arson charges dropped against teens accused of setting deadly 2016 Tennessee fire

Arson charges dropped against teens accused of setting deadly 2016 Tennessee fire

Attorney Greg Isaacs told Gray-TV affiliate WVLT that state charges were dropped against two juveniles accused of starting the 2016 Gatlinburg wildfires.

Investigators said the State is unable to prove the criminal responsibility of two juveniles beyond a reasonable doubt for the devastation that happened outside the Great Smoky Mountains National Park due to the high wind speeds that spread the Chimney Tops II fire from the Great Smoky Mountains to Gatlinburg and parts of Sevier County.

The teens, who are 15 and 17, were charged with starting the Chimney Tops fire, which spread into the Smoky Mountains, into Sevier County and into Gatlinburg, killing 14 people and injuring 200 more.

Southwest flight diverted after woman attempts to open door
Because the incident happened in the air, it falls under the jurisdiction of the Federal Bureau of Investigation . Michew detained the woman and subdued her until the plane was able to land safely.

A charred bird cage sits in the smoldering remains of a home in the wake of a wildfire last November in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. He cited the "unprecedented, unexpected and unforeseeable wind event" that occurred five days after the Chimney Tops fire, according to the Knoxville News Sentinel and other national reports. Almost 200 more were injured, and 2,400 structures were damaged or destroyed. "Normally most cases inside the NPS are handled in federal court but the USA attorney's office was consulted and has deferred prosecution to the district attorneys' office at this time, that's why it will be handled by the district attorney's office here in Sevier County", Steve Kloster said. After reviewing the documents, both the State Attorney General's Office and the U.S. Attorney's Office advised that it was their respective opinions that the State of Tennessee does not have jurisdiction to prosecute criminal acts that occur wholly within the boundaries of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. They called the case "an unfortunate rush to judgement". "People aren't looking for scapegoats; they're looking for answers".

Local officials indicated they were working on releasing those records in a joint statement Sevier County and Gatlinburg issued late Friday afternoon. "This is the beginning of answering questions that need to be answered", he said.

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