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US judge rules survivors can sue over deadly Tennessee fire

Posted at 1:37 PM, Jan 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-08 20:50:21-05

GATLINBURG, Tenn. (AP) — A federal judge has ruled that survivors of a historically deadly Tennessee wildfire can sue the National Park Service for failing to warn them of the danger.

The fire began in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in November 2016. The Knoxville News Sentinel reports the park's fire management officer allowed the fire to spread rather than actively quell it. The survivors' attorney argues the agency didn't notify those nearby about the blaze as mandated in its fire management plan.

A judge agreed, ruling victims can sue on the grounds that the Park Service failed to warn them, though they can't challenge the Park Service's fire fighting decisions.