Daily Camera (Boulder)
Fate of chief in board’s hands
Nederland Fire Protection District board members met Thursday night to discuss the fate of Chief Rick Dirr’s role after he was placed on leave Aug. 24.
Dirr was put on leave after the board of director’s special meeting Aug. 19, as the district investigated an alleged “failure to follow recognized protocols that lead to a potentially hazardous situation,” according to a Facebook post.
The hazardous situation was not publicly known until Thursday’s meeting. Board members discussed Dirr’s role in the July 3 home explosion in the 200 block of Alpine Drive and accused him of failing to follow incident command.
The meeting was intended to be in executive session, but Dirr requested the meeting to be open to the public. More than 45 people attended the remote meeting.
Dirr penned a public apology Monday, and also read the apology at the board meeting.
“As regards to July 3rd, my failure to check in with incident command was strictly my decision, reckless and insulting at best,” the apology states. “This decision potentially endangered not only my own safety but also that of (the) firefighter that accompanied me. Although I have numerous excuses for ending up at this point, I believe that the deeper ultimate cause was arrogance and failure to show respect for the Incident Command System, and the members and officers of the department.”
In the meeting, Dirr expressed frustration for the “culture of disrespect developed in Nederland fire.”
Board President Iain Irwin-powell disagreed with
“You say you take ownership of the action, it’s simply not true. In every conversation where we talked about the incident you undermined your own staff, blamed them on everything that went wrong,” IrwinPowell said. “That’s not what a chief should do.”
Dirr cited poor communication, saying he’s not perfect “and neither is the open contempt shown to me by a number of the (board) members.”
His apology for the July 3 incident continued: “I am profoundly sorry, not only for the disrespect shown to the various officers, but for the turmoil that I have forced the department into … I cannot easily undo the damage to morale and officer and officer dissatisfaction that I have caused, and