UPDATE: Federal lawsuit filed by Gatlinburg fire survivors, families of victims to continue
An opinion issued in federal court blames a National Park Service official for failing to properly inform Gatlinburg leaders about the 2016 Chimney Tops wildfires that killed 14 people.
Judge Ronnie Greer denied the park service’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit in the opinion that noted a fire management officer waited several days in warning the city and residents of a blaze that grew from an acre to 25 square miles in its aftermath.
Greer also noted messages sent through emails and on social media about the approaching fires were inefficient and fell short of warning guidelines.
More than 200 families and survivors of the Thanksgiving weekend tragedy filed suit against the federal government seeking damages for loss of life and structures.
Government officials will likely appeal the ruling.