7NEWS wins Peabody Award for investigative series for reporting on the Lower North Fork Fire

DENVER - During the week that 7NEWS continued pushing for answers and help for victims of the Lower North Fork Fire, news came that KMGH-TV is being honored for that work.

A special report called "Investigating the Fire," won the Peabody award for on-going investigative series.

The George Foster Peabody Awards recognize the most outstanding achievements in electronic media, including radio, television and cable. The Award is determined by one criterion – “Excellence,” according to the Peabody's website.

The Lower North Fork Fire started as a prescribed burn set by the Colorado State Forest Service on March 22, 2012. It was not properly extinguished and escaped its boundaries on March 26.

The fire killed Ann Appel and Sam and Linda Lucas, destroyed 22 homes and burned 4,148 acres.

While the fire was extinguished in days, the repercussions continue for the people in the burn zone.

The 7NEWS team, led by reporters Marshall Zelinger and Amanda Kost, uncovered mistakes and miscommunication that resulted in legislative changes that were supposed to compensate the victims and guard against future tragedies. However, while officials have promised to compensate the victims, there have been delays and more problems that 7NEWS continues to track.

Just Tuesday, fire survivors were at the State Capitol demanding restitution and an apology, among other things.

"We want to heal. We want want to stop grieving and being forced to relive this tragedy in court," the letter from the Kuehster Road homeowners group and community says. "We want justice now so we can move on with our lives, instead of this perpetual degrading situation the AG has forced us into."

In the 30-minute special report, "Investigating the Fire," Zelinger talked with Scott Appel, whose wife Ann died tragically in the fire. A man who lost "beyond everything" opened up to 7NEWS.

Kost investigated the mistakes made leading up to the prescribed burn becoming out of control. And as state leaders moved to set up a commission to help compensate the victims, 7NEWS asked the tough questions directly to Gov. John Hickenlooper -- who should be held accountable?

See the 7NEWS 30-minute, special report produced in 2012: http://ch7ne.ws/14wPsfX

Contact Amanda on Twitter -- @AmandaKost, Facebook, or email.

Contact Marshall on Twitter -- @7Marshall, email or Facebook.

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