DENVER (AP) — Authorities are defending their attempts to warn residents about a Colorado wildfire blamed for killing three people.
About an hour before the first wave of automated evacuated warning calls on March 26, a volunteer firefighter went house-to-house telling residents to leave. He wasn’t able to reach one woman believed killed in the fire because of a chain across her driveway. Her family is questioning why he didn’t walk down to warn her.
Fire chief Dave MacBean told KMGH-TV that it wasn’t safe because there were trees on both sides of Ann Appel’s narrow driveway, which can help a fire spread. A fire spokesman wouldn’t directly address the family’s question on Tuesday, but the department has said the house wasn’t visible from the top of the driveway.
The Jefferson County sheriff’s office says deputies also warned people to leave before the automated calls went out.