Black Forest Fire Chief Bob Harvey is apparently no longer with the department. A statement from the fire district says Chief Harvey cleared his personal items out of his office on Wednesday. Harvey has been on medical leave since early June, and the Board of Directors was looking to schedule a meeting with him to discuss his condition and his intentions. The board then learned Harvey had said elsewhere that he was no longer employed.
Harvey’s response to last year’s devastating Black Forest Fire came under scrutiny after the fire chief said the blaze was likely intentionally set. El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa disputed those claims and called into question the official timeline of response. An investigation commissioned by the Fire District later exonerated Harvey of any mishandling.
Last year’s Black Forest Fire destroyed around 500 homes and killed two residents, making it the most destructive in state history. Officials have long said the blaze was human caused. Evidence is currently under review at the District Attorney’s office.
Here's the official statement from the Black Forest Fire District's Board of Directors:
On June 4, 2014, Chief Robert Harvey read a statement at a Special Meeting of the Board of Directors of the Black Forest Fire/Rescue Protection District. In that statement, Chief Harvey advised the Board that he was placing himself on sick leave effective the following day. He then left the meeting without further comment to the Board.
Since that time, the Board has awaited word from Chief Harvey on his condition as well as his intentions regarding his return to work. The Board had intended to schedule a meeting with Chief Harvey to discuss this, but then learned that he had apparently made statements elsewhere that he was no longer employed. Yesterday, Chief Harvey cleared his personal items out of his office.
The Board is committed to providing the best possible emergency services to the residents of our Fire District and will be working to find a replacement to lead our department. All services of the Fire District will continue as they always have in the meantime and are not affected by this news.