Sources: Teens playing with matches started East TN wildfires

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GATLINBURG, Tenn. — The teens who were arrested for starting the East Tennessee wildfires that killed 14 people and damaged thousands of homes and businesses were playing with matches.

According to the Knoxville News Sentinel, the 17 and 15-year-olds are friends and live in Anderson County. They were hiking on the Chimney Tops trail when they began tossing matches.

An image was reportedly captured of the teens walking away from the scene with smoke in the background. Their clothing helped identify them.

The 17-year-old is also the son of an Anderson County Sheriff’s Office employee.

Neither of them have been identified at this time.

Both teens have been charged with aggravated arson. Charges stemming from the fire deaths are pending.

In all 14 people were killed and thousands of homes and businesses were damaged as a result of the wildfires.


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