Tennessee Bureau of Investigation announced two children are charged with aggravated arson in connection with the deadly wildfires in East Tennessee that destroyed hundreds of buildings, killed at least 14 people, and injured dozens more.
TBI agents did not release much information about those who were arrested because they are younger than 18 years old. If they end up being charged as adults, more information could be released.
TBI Director Mark Gwyn, Fourth District Attorney General James Dunn, and Great Smoky Mountains National Park Chief Ranger Steve Kloster spoke at a news conference Wednesday.
According to DA Dunn, the fires started in the Chimney Top area of the Great Smoky Mountains.
TBI Director Gwyn started the presser off by sending his condolences to the family members of those who died in the fires and residents of Sevier County. He also ensured residents that all agencies involved are committed to making sure justice is served.
Director Gwyn and DA James Dunn thanked members of TBI, ATF, the National Park Service and Sevier County Sheriff’s Office for their tireless effort into identify the individuals responsible for the fires.
“Numerous hours have gone into conducting interviews and investigating this incident from every angle. I can’t say enough about the National Park Service and ATF. They’ve been working tirelessly since the fires began,” Gwyn added.
“The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the National Park Service and the Sevier County Sheriff’s Office have conducted a joint investigation into the cause of this fire,” Dunn said. “I like to thank those agencies for their hard work and collaborative efforts.”
Agents were able to identify two children as those responsible for the fire.