Petition drive starts against Black Forest Fire Chief Bob Harvey

EL PASO COUNTY, Colo. - A petition has suddenly appeared at several businesses in the Black Forest area calling for the immediate dismissal of Fire Chief Bob Harvey, according to KRDO-TV in Colorado Springs.

The petition says, "We, the people of Black Forest, due hereby declare that we have no faith in Bob Harvey to hold the position of Fire Chief."

The petition goes on to say that that Harvey has "clearly demonstrated incompetence, arrogance, lack of integrity and ego to be the leader, or manager, of our Fire Rescue Department."

The petition comes after a war of words between Harvey and El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa.

Last week, Harvey told KRDO-TV that the fire was human caused.

"I don't think that anybody in the Black Forest area is surprised that this is human caused and probably intentional," Harvey said.

Harvey told KKTV he has been working with investigators, and this was the conclusion they had reached over the last few weeks.

However, Maketa wrote on a Facebook and issued a statement saying he was shocked that Harvey talked about an active investigation and accused Harvey of mishandling the event.

"Do not buy into Chief Harvey's claims until it's confirmed by the actual agency that has been the lead of the investigation and will base its findings on indisputable scientific evidence that can withstand the scrutiny of the criminal justice system. Right now that isn't the case," Maketa wrote.

Maketa then went after Harvey.

"He does not know the point of origin and has been less than truthful about other circumstances with this disaster and just may be merely covering his own mishandling of this event in an attempt to avoid responsibility for allowing the fire to get out of hand," Maketa wrote. "Furthermore, this Chief didn't even know homes were burning at a time several were engulfed and never even requested evacuations of nearby households as the fire rapidly grew out of control, clearly placing citizen’s safety in jeopardy."

The Black Forest Fire, in June, caused $85 million in damage and is considered the most destructive fire in Colorado history.

KRDO said Harvey didn't respond to requests for a comment on the petition.

Organizers told the TV station they hope to get 300 signatures to present to the Fire Protect District's Board of Directors.

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