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Fire Board, sheriff stand behind two different stories

By Emily Allen, Multimedia Journalist /Target 13 Investigator , emily.allen@krdo.com
Published On: Dec 24 2013 06:42:20 PM CST
Updated On: Dec 11 2013 02:38:58 PM CST

The El Paso County Sheriff and the Black Forest Fire Board stood behind two different timelines Wednesday outlining decisions made during the initial hours of the Black Forest Fire.

EL PASO COUNTY, Colo. -

The El Paso County Sheriff and the Black Forest Fire Board stood behind two different timelines Wednesday outlining decisions made during the initial hours of the Black Forest Fire.

The El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa said Wednesday he had more evidence to prove that the Black Forest Fire Board's timeline is wrong.

It comes after a KRDO NewsChannel 13 Target 13 investigation calling into question the decisions Chief Bob Harvey made during the first few hours of the fire.

At 1:43 p.m. on June 11 the first radio dispatch sounded alerting first responders there was a fire in the Black Forest.

At 1:45 p.m., the fire was spotted, according to a timeline released by the Black Forest Fire Board.

At 1:47 p.m., the Fire Board said Donald Wescott and Black Forest Fire Departments arrived on scene.

At 2:18 p.m., the Fire Board said the fire was out of control. It said in a press release the fire was "erupting into a fire storm with a 200-foot flame-front."

At 3:10 p.m., the Fire Board said Black Forest Fire Chief Bob Harvey passed command of the fire to the state.

The dispute over the timeline between the Sheriff's Office and the fire board centers around the time the chief passed command.

Maketa said it took more than two hours for Harvey to pass command of the fire to the Sheriff's Office.

At 2:28 p.m., El Paso County Sheriff's Office Fire Management Officer Scott Campbell told dispatch that Harvey had not passed command of the fire to the Sheriff's Office.  Campbell would later become an incident commander for the fire as soon as the Colorado State Division of Fire Prevent and Control took control.

At 3:40 p.m., Maketa said he had a conversation Campbell, during which Maketa said Harvey had not passed command of the fire.

At 3:55 p.m., Maketa said he had a conversation with Harvey during which the fire chief passed command of the fire to the Sheriff's Office. Maketa said at that point, he passed the fire to the state.

At 4:49 p.m., a tactical dispatcher assigned to Harvey notes, "command transferred from Harvey to Campbell," according to new documents obtained Wednesday by KRDO NewsChannel 13. The tactical dispatcher was assigned to help Harvey starting at 3:12 p.m. that afternoon.  He took notes on requests for resources, events as they unfolded and conversations between Harvey and other firefighters.

At 5:20 p.m., an undersheriff with the El Paso County Sheriff's Office signed a document formalizing the transfer of command from the Sheriff's Office to the state.

Maketa said a representative from the Colorado State Division of Fire Prevention and Control was present for that conversation at 3:55 p.m. as well as a bureau chief from the El Paso County Sheriff's Office. KRDO NewsChannel 13 has requested interviews with both witnesses Maketa said were present for the conversation.

The Black Forest Fire Board said it will not answer any questions until their independent investigation into the decisions made during the fire wraps up.

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