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Opportunity for compensation arises for 2016 Tennessee wildfire victims as appeals court revives lawsuits

A glimmer of hope has emerged for the victims of a devastating 2016 wildfire that originated in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and ravaged a picturesque Tennessee tourist enclave.

Victims of a deadly 2016 wildfire that began in Great Smoky Mountains National Park before it burned through a Tennessee tourist town will have another chance to seek compensation from the federal government.

Several lawsuits claim park employees failed to warn the city of Gatlinburg and its residents of the danger until it was too late. A federal judge last year dismissed the lawsuits, ruling that the plaintiffs were not specific enough in pre-lawsuit claims about what they were alleging.

KIDNAPPING SURVIVOR ELIZABETH THOMAS BREAKS YEARS OF SILENCE ON HORROR-FILLED CROSS-COUNTRY TREK

On Thursday, a three-judge panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals vacated that ruling, sending the case back to the lower court.

The fire killed 14 people and caused an estimated $2 billion in losses, including about 2,500 buildings that were damaged or destroyed. The fire began on less than half an acre in a remote section of the park during the Thanksgiving holidays, when the park was minimally staffed.

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