Why Victim In Jefferson County Fire Never Got Evacuation Call

Notification System Had Ann Appel Living In Morrison

When a reverse emergency notification was sent to homes in the Lower North Fork Fire area, victim Ann Appel did not receive a call.

Both the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office and FirstCall, the emergency notification provider contracted by Jeffco, confirmed that information for 7NEWS on Wednesday.

The emergency notification system had Appel living in the town of Morrison, 13 miles north of her actual home off Broadview Circle, which has a Littleton address.

In an email to 7NEWS, FirstCall president Matt Teague admitted multiple addresses were in the system incorrectly.

"Some of the data provided by the county had incorrect addresses which listed them in Morrison," said Teague.

7NEWS asked the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office about who provides FirstCall the address information. Spokeswoman Jacki Kelley said that doesn't go through the sheriff's office, but is provided by third parties such as the phone company and other mapping companies.

Appel Family Believes Notification Was Too Late

Appel's family put together a timeline based on information it received from the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office.

4:56 p.m.: The decision is made to make the evacuation notification.

5:05 p.m.: First evacuation notification call sent out. According to Jefferson County, this call was accidentally sent to phone numbers in the entire system. According to FirstCall, this call went to county residents who had registered their cell phones online. FirstCall said this notification was not sent to landlines and that it was stopped halfway through the call cycle.

5:23 p.m. Second notification call sent to a specific area of homes in the Lower North Fork danger zone. Appel did not receive this notification because the FirstCall system believed she lived in Morrison, outside of the specific evacuation area to be notified.

According to Appel's family, they believe they have a timeline from time-stamped home video taken by neighbors that shows the Appel property was on fire before the first notification call was sent.

Kelley promised to provide 7NEWS documentation on Thursday that will show who is to blame for the address mistakes. She also said the documents will show how widespread the problem may still be in Jefferson County.

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