Fire chief asked that videos of land­fill blaze be edited

Jamaica Gleaner - - INTERNATIONAL NEWS -

CASPER (AP): CASPER FIRE Chief Ken­neth King asked one of his in­spec­tors to elim­i­nate “bad parts” of video ev­i­dence be­ing sought by au­thor­i­ties after a burn­ing wood­chip pile at Casper’s land­fill ig­nited a wild­fire that de­stroyed 14 homes last year, ac­cord­ing to emails ob­tained by the Casper Star-Tri­bune.

The news­pa­per re­ports that the fire jumped the land­fill and burned about 16 square miles last year. Of­fi­cials were con­cerned that the fire could re­sult in le­gal ac­tion.

More than $1.7 mil­lion in claims have been filed re­lated to the fire.

“Could you cut out the bad parts and make sure that no copies are made and only (the Wy­oming Divi­sion of Crim­i­nal In­ves­ti­ga­tion) views?” King wrote in an email to Devin Garvin, a city fire in­spec­tor col­lect­ing ev­i­dence re­lated to the fire to be shared with state au­thor­i­ties.

In an in­ter­view, King said he sent the email as a joke to some­one he con­sid­ers a friend. He said it was in poor taste.

NEWS­PA­PER

“There was no think­ing. You know what I mean. If I said any­thing, it would be mak­ing it up. There was just not enough thought into that email,” King told the news­pa­per.

The email was one of more than 1,000 turned over to the Star-Tri­bune as part of pub­lic records re­quests.

Ac­cord­ing to pub­lic records, fire­fight­ers re­acted quickly to the fire, but most left the land­fill within hours, even though piles con­tin­ued to burn.

A two-man crew was left to tend to the fire overnight, and that’s when the fire got out of con­trol.

A state in­ves­ti­ga­tion de­ter­mined that the fire be­gan in a ma­chine used to grind wood. The in­ves­ti­ga­tion fo­cused on the fire’s ori­gins, but it did not draw con­clu­sions as to whether neg­li­gence by city work­ers caused or contributed to the Cole Creek Fire.

Of­fi­cials say losses from the fire are ex­pected to rise into the mil­lions of dol­lars, but the city’s li­a­bil­ity is capped at $500,000 un­der Wy­oming’s Gov­ern­men­tal Claims Act. The city has sent the claims to its in­surer, the Wy­oming As­so­ci­a­tion of Risk Man­age­ment.

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