Mar 14, 2014 11:15 PM by Andy Koen

News 5 Investigates: Sheriff's commander denies special treatment

EL PASO COUNTY - A ranking member of the command staff in charge of the emergency response to the Black Forest Fire says accusations that his home received preferential treatment are completely false.

A report released Friday by third party investigator Dave Fisher states that two trucks were diverted to protect a specific address: the home of then acting El Paso County Emergency Services Commander Robert McDonald.

Fisher writes that the order came "from the top" meaning Incident Commander Scott Campbell, who at the time a subordinate to McDonald and Sheriff Terry Maketa.

McDonald denies he was given special treatment because of his position.

"It's disappointing that allegations were made, they are not true at all," McDonald said. "Resources were sent up here to save whatever houses could be saved up here. When I was at the command post and got information, I had already gotten information that my house had burned to the ground."

McDonald affirms that he was in the command post on the night of June 11, 2013 with Maketa and Campbell but denies ordering Campbell to send trucks to his address.

"That's absolutely false," he said.

The firefighters came from the Black Forest Fire Protection District and the Falcon Fire Protection District.

Falcon Fire Chief Trent Harwig confirmed to News 5 that his men were ordered to McDonald's specific address.

When questioned about the fire chief's statement, McDonald said the order, "didn't come from me, it didn't come from Sheriff Maketa."

He said all he was aware of was that units were ordered back into the area after the fire had passed through to see if any structures could still be saved.


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