Attorney says weather, winds primarily to blame for deadly Gatlinburg wildfires, not teens



An attorney for one of the teens previously charged in the deadly Gatlinburg wildfires said the Chimney Tops 2 did not start the Gatlinburg wildfires.

Gregory Issacs with the Isaacs Law Firm said their independent investigation investigation revealed that Chimney Tops 2 fire didn’t cause the Gatlinburg fires, “beyond a reasonable doubt” and the prosecution agreed.

"There is no evidence that the conduct of the juveniles caused the death and devastation in Gatlinburg,” Isaacs said.

The wildfires killed 14 people, injured more than 200 and destroyed more than 1,780 structures.

The attorney called the charges filed against the teens, "an unfortunate rush to judgement.”

Isaacs said the fires spread from superseding causes and causal breaks, which was primarily the weather and winds.

The attorney also said the Sevier County Attorney General didn’t have legal jurisdiction in the park. Isaacs said in 1996, a Memorandum of Agreement specifically excludes the Great Smoky Mountains National Park as a place where local and state prosecutors would have jurisdiction.

4th Judicial District Attorney General Jimmy Dunn has filed an order dismissing charges in their entirety.

"Our thoughts and prays are with victims of Gatlinburg wildfires," Isaacs said on behalf of teen he is representing and the law firm.

Regarding possible reaction from the community, Isaacs said he doesn’t think people are looking for scapegoats – they just want answers.


Prosecutors have dropped arson charges against two teens they labeled were responsible for the deadly Sevier County wildfires.

The teens, 15 and 17, were charged with starting the Chimney Tops fire which eventually spread to the Smoky Mountains, into Sevier County and Gatlinburg, killing 14 people, injuring more than 200 and destroying more than 1,780 structures.

It was the state’s deadliest wildfire this century.

4th Judicial District Attorney General Jimmy Dunn has filed an order dismissing charges.

More details are expected to be released at a news conference on Friday afternoon at 1 p.m. A live player will be embedded into this story.

View the full release here or here on mobile:

This is a breaking news story and will be updated.

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