2 teens arrested, accused of starting wildfires that killed 14 in East TN

Sidney James Mountain Lodge in Gatlinburg, Tennessee (Credit: Ashley Biggens via WATE ReportIt!)

GATLINBURG, Tenn. (WATE/AP) – Two teenagers have been arrested in East Tennessee and charged with starting the deadly wildfires that killed 14 people and damaged or destroyed 1,700 structures last week.

Tennessee Bureau of Investigation on Wednesday announced that two juveniles were arrested Wednesday morning and charged with aggravated arson.

District Attorney General James Dunn said the juveniles face aggravated arson charges for the fire in the Chimney Tops area of Great Smoky Mountains National Park on Nov. 23. The fire spread to the Gatlinburg area, causing widespread damage. They’re being held in the Sevier County juvenile detention center.

A detention hearing is scheduled within 72 hours and additional charges could be filed. Dunn says it is being considered whether to transfer the case to adult court.

Hurricane-force winds fueled wildfires on the night of Monday, Nov. 28, forcing more than 14,000 residents and tourists to evacuate the city of Gatlinburg.

Of those who died, 12 perished 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.

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

RELATED: Tampa couple homeless following Gatlinburg wildfires

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