A middle Tennessee juvenile allegedly started the fire that destroyed part of a Pigeon Forge outlet mall earlier this month.
Officers from the Pigeon Forge Police Department responded to reports of a possible fire inside the Kroger, located at 220 Wears Valley Road, on October 3, 2020. Officers were told that a juvenile male had attempted to light a cardboard display on fire. An employee observed the display smoking and the juvenile standing next to it. The employee put water on the display and the juvenile fled on foot, leaving the store. Officers were able to gather a description of the suspect and with whom the suspect was traveling by viewing video surveillance. By this time, the persons had left the area.
Two days later on October 3, the Pigeon Forge Fire Department and police responded to a structure fire at the Just Stop Smokies store at the Z Buda Mall, located at 2828 Parkway, and arrived to find a portion of the building fully engulfed in flames. The fire was brought under control, but the building and its contents suffered severe damage.
Based on witness statements and video surveillance investigators were able to connect the Kroger and Just Stop Smokies fire incidents and identify the juvenile and his guardians. Investigators traveled to middle Tennessee and located the couple along with the juvenile male. They charged the juvenile with two counts of Aggravated Arson. His name was not released.
Walden’s Creek Volunteer Fire Department, along with other departments, responded to the mutual aid call for the outlet mall fire.
All persons are considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.