Two Juveniles Charged With Arson in Tennessee Wildfires

(CN) – Authorities said Wednesday afternoon that two juveniles have been arrested on aggravated arson charges related to devastating wildfires in and around Gatlinburg, Tenn., that killed 14 people and destroyed hundreds of buildings.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said last week’s Smoky Mountain wildfires were acts of arson.

Two juveniles are in custody, but police will not release their names. Both have been transported to the Sevier County Juvenile Detention Center.

“Our promise is that we will do our very best to help bring closure to those who have lost so much,” TBI Director Mark Gwyn said during a Wednesday afternoon news conference.

Fourteen people were killed in the inferno that ravaged the resort town of Gatlinburg. About 700 buildings were damaged in Sevier County.

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam said last week the Gatlinburg fire was the largest in the state in the past 100 years.

The devastation prompted country music icon Dolly Parton to establish the My People Fund, which will pay $1,000 monthly to Sevier County families who lost their homes in the inferno.

The wildfires were preceded by a drought that has seen 10 to 15 fewer inches of rain than normal during the past three months for much of the South.

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