El Paso County Fire Response Investigated

December 11 2013, 10:02 AM

Black Forest Fire District officials have hired independent investigators to review its response to this past summer’s Black Forest Fire, which burned more than 14,000 acres and killed two people in northern El Paso County.

At issue are the events that led up to the devastating fire and whether the fire department acted quickly enough to get the blaze under control. The inquiry is part of a larger issue between fire chief Bob Harvey and El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa, who have been in a heated spat the past month over comments Harvey made in November that claimed the devastating blaze was intentionally set.

Maketa at the time blasted Harvey publicly and accused the fire chief of making the claim as a way to cover up his “mishandling of this event in an attempt to avoid responsibility for allowing the fire to get out of hand.” The sheriff also challenged a Black Forest Fire District timeline of events that essentially said the fire had gotten out of control less than a half hour after firefighters had reached the scene. Overall, the fire destroyed more than 500 homes.

The Denver Post reported that the fire district hired independent investigators to look into the timeline. The investigation, the newspaper says, should be completed “after the New Year.”

—Image courtesy of Shutterstock