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Group Starts Petition To Remove Black Forest Fire Chief

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GALLERIES: COLORADO'S WORST WILDFIRES

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

BLACK FOREST, Colo. (CBS4) – There is a drive to remove the fire chief of Black Forest after he said the massive fire there was intentionally set.

Sources say the petition was started by a Colorado Springs firefighter.

Multiple copies of the petition are circulating around the fire area and once its organizers reach 300 signatures they plan to take it to the fire district’s board.

The Black Forest Fire is considered the most destructive fire in Colorado history, destroying more than 500 homes.

“Everything I knew as a child is now gone. My home, my business, everything destroyed,” said fire victim Alan Havens.

Havens is among the list of people signing the petition. It calls for the immediate dismissal of Black Forrest Fire Chief Bob Harvey.

Michelle Andree, the first to sign the petition, wants answers if there was a two-hour lag time in allowing additional resources to the fire.

“People in Black Forest deserve the truth. They deserve to know exactly what happened, and if that was the case, that two-hour delay caused a lot of devastation that could have been avoided,” said Andree.

The petition came days after a verbal sparring between Harvey and El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa. Harvey said last week the wildfire appeared to be intentionally set.

“I tell my board exactly what myself and a couple of other investigators that I’ve engaged with; come up with our conclusions,” said Harvey.

Maketa disagrees and didn’t like the chief talking about the investigation.

“Absolutely shocked, especially because it was about 180 degrees from what the evidence shows. To make that public and let the public believe that is more damaging than anything,” said Maketa.

The petitions calling for Harvey’s firing are being quietly circulated because the people in Black Forest say they now fear retaliation.

Wildfire Resources

- Visit CBSDenver.com’s Wildfire Resources section.

- Read recent Wildfire stories.

Wildfire Photo Galleries

- See images from the most destructive wildfires (Black Forest, Waldo Canyon, High Park and Fourmile) and largest wildfire (Hayman) in Colorado history.

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