It is difficult to grasp the idea that all of the carnage and destruction left behind by ravaging wildfires in Tennessee could have been intentionally started by some teenagers. But it now appears this is exactly what may have happened.
Two juveniles have been charged with arson and accused of lighting the blaze that killed 14 people; 175 others were injured in the blaze. The people who call Gatlinburg home will never be the same as more than 200 homes and businesses were destroyed.
20-thousand acres of the Great Smoky Mountains were scorched, and the mayor of Gatlinburg estimates the damage at $500 million. The teens could face charges of first degree murder; however, the DA has yet to make these charges.
The two are currently sitting in a Sevierville, Tennessee County jail facing aggravated arson charges, which if found guilty could bring a sentence of 60 years behind bars. If slapped with more serious charges, the two could face life in prison if found guilty.
The local prosecutor, James Dunn, says that everything remains on the table for now, including the decision as to whether the pair will be charged as adults. But not every townsperson is satisfied with this answer.
Local resident, Kent Emmons says, “If in fact they did set the fire, and they did it on purpose, I cannot think of a punishment severe enough for them.” Emmons lost his home in the fire.
The fires blew through the city on November 28, and local residents and tourists had to flee for their lives. In some instances, folks were trapped for hours while the blazes grew stronger before they could be rescued.
Officials were forced to go door-to-door to evacuate people and also used social media and news releases.
What punishment do you think these teens should receive for allegedly causing these deadly fires – and should they be charged as adults?
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