EXCLUSIVE: Firefighter Explains Why He Sent Crews To Protect Official's Home During Black Forest Fire

11 News has exclusive new information about the Black Forest fire investigation report. As we've told you, the report says firefighters were sent to specifically protect the home of the acting commander of emergency services for El Paso County, Bob McDonald.

We talked to the division supervisor for the El Paso County Wildland Fire Crew, Steven Thime. He said he's the one who sent crews to that home. Thime said he had no idea whose house that was until the next day. He says that morning Bob McDonald showed up to thank the firefighters for saving his home. At that point, Thime said he still didn't know McDonald was the emergency services commander.

"Had I not been told in this report, I still wouldn't know who lived there," Thime said.

Thime said he sent one engine to that house and one to the house next door because they were the only two still standing in that area and it looked like they could have a chance to save them. In the end, they did.

"There were two homes standing," said Thime. "If they were two mobile homes, I would have done the exact same thing. If it was two tents, I would have put a fire engine on a tent and dug line around it. It does not matter to me. And there's no reason for me to know whose home that was. I protected hundreds of home in Mountain Shadows, I protected hundreds of home in Black Forest. I cut down trees. I don't ask whose home it is, it doesn't matter to me."

In the report, investigators say they wanted to interview Thime and that he didn't return their phone calls. Thime told us he never got those calls.

"If I did something that you don’t necessarily agree with, there’s probably a reason for it. And if you give me a chance to explain what I was thinking or seeing at the time. I’ll explain that to you. But to put me in there that I didn’t respond back to your request, that’s absolutely not true," said Thime.

The investigator who did the report, David Fisher, has told 11 News before he stands by it.


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