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Black Forest Fire report to be released Tuesday

Black Forest fire report to be released Tuesday

BLACK FOREST, Colo. - Nearly a year ago the search for answers to what sparked the most destructive wildfire in Colorado history led investigators to Aubrey Martin's front door.

"We had a SWAT team at our door, ATF," Martin said.

Her then fiance Coy was one of the first people to report the fire.

"I gave them all the information I could and took a lie detector test for them," Coy Martin said.

The Martin's weren't arrested, but several of their belongings were taken by investigators.

"They said they were going to take combustible stuff but they took all of our electronics too," Coy said.

Tools that Coy used to make a living and all of the planning Aubrey had made for their upcoming wedding, were gone.

"We were going to be married at Bishop Castle, I'd booked it two years in advance," Aubrey said.

But plans had to be changed to a more affordable Fox Run Regional Park, as the couple had to invest their savings into tools and equipment to replace what was taken by investigators. 

"At the time they would tell us it's going to take as long as it takes and you're going to need to make other arrangements," Aubrey said.

The couple hopes the news that the El Paso County Sheriff's Office plans on presenting its After Action Report on the fire Tuesday, means they might get more than their things back.

"Just answers will be a blessing," Aubrey said.

A blessing that may not come just yet.

The After Action Review process was first used by the Army after the Vietnam War to capture lessons learned from simulated battles. 

Last April, the City of Colorado Springs released its After Action Report on the Waldo Canyon Fire.  It explored three questions: 1) What happened; 2) What went well and why; and 3) What can be improved and how.  The cause of the Waldo Canyon Fire was not in the document.

The El Paso County Sheriff's Office indicates its report will follow a similar focus.  Sheriff Terry Maketa will make the presentation of the After Action Report and will discuss the status of the investigation into the fire. 

Sources inside the Sheriff's Office indicate that a cause has been determined, but the findings first need to be sent to the District Attorney's Office for review before that can be made public.

That means people like the Martin's whose property were seized will have to continue to wait until the investigation has been finalized before their items are returned.

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