Wrongful death suits filed against National Park Service for 2016 Gatlinburg wildfires
A wrongful death suit has been filed in federal court in Knoxville that accuses a National Park Service official and the management of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park of warning residents of the Chimney Tops 2 wildlfire that killed 14 people when it swept through Gatlinburg and Sevier County.
The suit was filed Wednesday by a legal firm representing Michael B. Reed and James L. England, Jr. Reed lost his wife Constance and two daughters Chloe and Lilly in the November 2016 blaze while England's home and possessions were destroyed.
NPS Fire Management Officer Greg Salansky is accused of not following policies and treating the 410-acre fire as a prescribed burn instead of the vast inferno that grew from Chimney Tops, according to documents released to the media on Thursday.
Reed is seeking $13.5 million while England has requested $1.3 million in his portion of the suit. England's property was located just behind Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies, according to court documents.
The firm of Gilreath and Associates of Knoxville said in the report that this suit will be the first of hundreds to be filed in response to the Gatlinburg fires that destroyed more than 2,000 properties and had damage estimates in the billions.