Report to exonerate Colo. fire chief in deadly 2013 wildfire

Initial findings showed the chief was not negligent; the full report will further clear him, officials said.

By Matt Steiner
The Gazette

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — The Black Forest Fire/Rescue Protection District Board of Directors released a 2,000-page report Friday outlining findings in a independent investigation that was prompted by a dispute between Fire Chief Bob Harvey and El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa.

The board announced in December that a retired Greenwood Village Police commander, Dave Fisher, would lead the investigation. The dispute between the chief and sheriff came in late November after Harvey told a local television news reporter that the Black Forest fire, which ignited June 11, 2013, was “probably” intentionally set.

Maketa responded with a statement hours after Harvey’s comments, saying that likely was not the case and that the fire chief “may be merely covering his own mishandling of the event.”

The fire burned more than 18,000 acres, destroyed 488 homes and killed two people.

An interim report issued last month cleared Harvey of any negligence in his handling of the fire.

According to the board, the full report released Friday “will more fully exonerate the chief from allegations of unprofessional behavior or misconduct.”

“We continue to have confidence in Chief Harvey,” said Chairman of the Board Edward Bracken in a letter attached to the lengthy report.


(c)2014 The Gazette (Colorado Springs, Colo.)
McClatchy-Tribune News Service
Distributed by MCT Information Services

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