The man who made a critical 911 call hours before the Waldo Canyon Fire grew out of control is now sharing his story.
Noel Boyce says he wishes he wasn’t part of the story. 11 News uncovered the 911 call he made on June 23, 2012 at 7:50 a.m. in an 11 News Investigation. He told the dispatcher exactly where the fire was smoldering, but that crucial information never made it to firefighters who were struggling to find the fire.
“It’s hard to say exactly what that could have looked like. Personally I feel like we wouldn’t have had the outcome we did,” says Boyce.
He says growing up in Colorado Springs his feelings about what happened are the same as everyone else: sadness for the hundreds of homes that were destroyed, and heartbreak for the two lives lost. He says he’s also frustrated about how the dispatcher answered his call, "When I made the call I was hoping to get some involvement,” Boyce remembers. “You think with that type of information you'd have a little bit more involvement."
He doesn’t want to blame anyone for what happened. He says he kept quiet about the call he made. He’s been carrying around photos on his phone of the fire before it grew out of control.
"I replay it - I wouldn’t say regularly - but I replay it every once in a while and think about the fact that I probably could have been more coercive with the information I had and I could have tried to get that across and get the point across that, no, you need to be up here, you need to be doing something," he said.
Now nearly a year later, Boyce says he’s glad to hear El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa admit to 11 News the call wasn’t handled properly.
"It's really the rest of the story for the city and I’m just glad I can at least provide a small piece of it,” he said.
Boyce didn’t want 11 News to show the pictures of where the fire started. He’s worried it would have a negative impact on the investigation.
He says he has shared them with police and even took them to the spot where he saw the fire smoldering.