UPDATE: Two juveniles charged with arson in Tennessee wildfires that killed 14
By NBC News
by ALEX JOHNSON
Two juveniles were arrested Wednesday on aggravated arson charges in the Tennessee wildfires that killed 14 people, and more charges are possible, authorities said Wednesday.
The suspects weren't identified because they're minors. Authorities would say only that they are residents of Tennessee but not of Sevier County, where the fire caused significant damage and forced the evacuations of thousands of residents around Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Sevier County District Attorney James Dunn said the suspects were being held pending a detention hearing at which a juvenile court judge will decide bond. He said said the suspects could be charged as adults and that other charges were "on the table."
The Chimney Tops 2 fire, which started Nov. 23, has burned more than 17,000 acres in and around the national park and was still only 64 percent contained after two weeks, the joint federal-state-local incident command team said Wednesday.
A second fire, the Cobbly Nob blaze, which began five days later, has burned almost 900 acres and was 67 percent contained Wednesday.
In addition to the 14 people who have died, more than 145 others were injured and more than 1,700 homes were damaged or destroyed, authorities said Wednesday.
An overnight curfew remains in effect in Gatlinburg, which city officials said they hope to reopen to the public on Friday.