Daily Camera (Boulder)

Fate of chief in board’s hands

- By Brook­lyn Dance Netherlands · Facebook

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

Dirr’s apol­ogy.

“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

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