Charges dismissed against teens in deadly 2016 Gatlinburg wildfires
Fourteen people died as a result. More than 2,400 structures were burned or damaged by fire.
(WBIR) - State arson charges have been dropped against two teen boys who authorities said set a blaze Nov. 23 that grew into an inferno that swept into Gatlinburg and parts of Sevier County five days later.
District Attorney General James Dunn said in a press release Friday that the state couldn't prove the original blaze inside the park that was allegedly set by the boys led to the Nov. 28 disaster in Gatlinburg.
It'll be up to the U.S. Department of Justice to pursue any charges against any individuals alleged to have caused the Smokies fire Nov. 23, according to Dunn.
The announcement comes seven months after the disaster swept Nov. 28 across Sevier County - a disaster that the National Park Service had said started with a blaze set in the park's popular Chimney Tops 2 site.
A cloak of secrecy has been thrown over the juveniles' case since they were charged in December, with authorities citing their protected status as juveniles as the reason.
The teen boys were alleged to have started a fire Nov. 23 - the day before Thanksgiving -- in the Chimney Tops 2 area.
Read more at WBIR's website.