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Fire Board, fire chief still quiet after full investigation released

Fire Board, Fire Chief still quiet after full investigation

EL PASO COUNTY, Colo. - The investigation is complete and the full report is public, but the Black Forest Fire Board and its Fire Chief refuse to do an interview.

Fire Chief Bob Harvey and the Black Forest Fire Board said they would keep quiet until the investigator they hired was finished. However, they have continued to stay quiet.

KRDO NewsChannel 13 documented thirty different times its requested interviews with Harvey and the fire board starting in August.

The Fire Board hired an investigator after El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa called into question the chief's judgement calls during the initial hours of the fire.

KRDO NewsChannel 13 started calling chief Harvey in August, requesting an interview about the initial hours of the Fire.

KRDO NewsChannel 13 also requested an interview in November before the initial investigation aired.

"I probably won't," said Harvey.

The Black Forest Fire Board said it won't comment until after the investigation.

"Any questions in regulars to the conduct of the fire, we're not going to answer tonight," said Black Forest Fire Board Chairman Ed Bracken during a meeting in December.

Harvey also said he would wait until the investigation was done.

"I really don't have any comment to make. The investigation is ongoing and it'll bring it all out," said Harvey in December.

A public relations company hired by the board declined our requests for interviews for months via email.

"As we announced to C. Springs media last week, Black Forest officials will not be doing media interviews, or making any further comments until their internal inquiry by an outside investigator is complete," said Public Relation spokesperson Peter Webb via email in December.

"We will continue to refrain from public comment until our investigators' work is complete," said Webb via email in January.

KRDO NewsChannel 13 requested an interview after a summary of the report was released.

"The department does not plan to schedule interviews until after we have received guidance from the DA (District Attorney)," said Kathy Russell via email.

After the full findings were made public, KRDO NewsChannel 13 requested another interview but Russell said Harvey wasn't available.

"At this point we have nothing to add that we haven't already put into the report," said Russell.

Fire Board Chairmen Ed Bracken said Monday that he wasn't available, but was potentially available for an interview next week.

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