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Poudre Fire Authority Sets Record Straight on Poudre River Incident That Left Two Dead

Poudre River by Mishawaka
Byron Williams, For TSM

Poudre Fire Authority is refuting a story that was published by a Denver metro-area news outlet on June 18, 2014. PFA claims that the story contains misinformation and mischaracterizes the events that took place during a recent incident on the Poudre River that left two people dead.

It involved a river rescue that took place on May 26, 2014 and tragically took the lives of a 14-year-old boy and his uncle, who jumped in to save him. The news report implies that Poudre Fire Authority did not respond appropriately to the call in a timely manner, which impacted the outcome of the incident.

Patrick Love of Poudre Fire Authority issued the following press release:

We are very saddened at the loss of life on the Poudre River. However, the facts of PFA’s involvement in the incident need to be set straight.

 

  • FACT: The Larimer County Sheriff’s Office, Larimer County Dive Rescue Team and the Poudre Canyon Fire Protection District were the agencies responsible for the incident as well as providing incident command. They responded to the call with a boat and other resources. The Poudre Canyon Fire Protection District is a separate governmental entity from the Poudre Fire Authority.

Story Reported: “Documents show nearly an hour passed before swift-water rescue crews were dispatched to the scene.”

  • FACT: The original call was received by Larimer County Sheriff’s Office Dispatch at 12:11:38. LSCO immediately dispatched Emergency Services, deputies, LC Dive Rescue Team and PCFPD. Fort Collins 911 received a call from LCSO Dispatch at 12:16 reporting the incident. A Poudre Valley Hospital Ambulance was immediately dispatched. At 12:46:25, Fort Collins 911 received an additional call for mutual aid from LCSO Dispatch. The first PFA unit on scene arrived at 13:06:49; only 20 minutes after being dispatched.

Story Reported: “The Poudre Fire Authority’s directive for swift-water rescue states that Engine 7 and Boat 7 are dispatched automatically.”

  • FACT: The cited Operational Directive is for incidents only within PFA jurisdiction. This incident occurred in Poudre Canyon Fire Protection District’s jurisdiction and was dispatched accordingly.

Story Reported: “However on May 26, despite being fully staffed and the closest response team to the emergency, they never got the call from dispatch.”

  • FACT: The Larimer County Sheriff’s Office Emergency Services Incident Commander requested swimmers only, NOT a boat. Six swimmers were requested; seven filled the request.

Story Reported: “The incident time log from the Poudre Canyon Fire District shows the call came in for a “swift water rescue” at 11:51 a.m., but the first unit didn’t arrive on scene until full hour later at 12:51 p.m. The first to arrive was not a rescue crew, rather it was an ambulance dispatched more than twenty minutes after the first call for help.”

  • FACT: We are the Poudre Fire Authority, NOT Poudre Canyon Fire District. Additionally, county resources were dispatched at the time the call was received; four separate agencies responded initially. The first ambulance unit to arrive at the reported location of one patient was within approximately three minutes.

Story Reported: “The log also shows Engine 2, which is located further from the incident than Engine 7, arrived nearly an hour and a half after the initial call. The closest swift-water crew to the scene would have been Engine 7, which is equipped with a Zodiac boat, and strategically placed for quick access to the Canyon.”

  • FACT: This was a mutual-aid request. PFA followed Incident Command System protocol along with Mutual Aid agreements and did NOT self-launch to an area outside of our jurisdiction. Again, only swimmers and NOT a boat were requested, and were on scene within 20 minutes of being requested. LCSO Emergency Services Dive Team already had a boat on scene.

[Poudre Fire Authority]

Here is the original article that Poudre Fire Authority claims contains misinformation: http://bit.ly/V2QuOJ

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