SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Nation/World

June 15, 2013

Crews hold wildfire flames in check

(Continued)

“We’ve done it all before and so there was no question,” said Nicola Sapp, El Paso County budget officer. “Everybody jumped right in.”

The cause of the blaze is under investigation.

Before the fire got out of hand, authorities evacuated people miles away, sending deputies door-to-door to ensure everyone left. They remembered the speed at which last year’s fire spread.

“That’s one thing I’ll never forget — how fast that Waldo Canyon Fire moved,” said El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa, who was bowled over by how rapidly help arrived this week.

The latest blaze raced through the rural reaches of the metro area, doubling in size overnight and charring at least 400 homes. The bodies of two people were found inside their garage Thursday, their car doors open as if they had been about to flee.

Some Waldo Canyon evacuees endured days without knowing whether their houses survived. So Maketa sent deputies in at night to survey neighborhoods. It was a painstaking, risky process as ashes smoldered around them while they strained to determine the addresses of charred properties. About 24 hours later, the department began releasing the addresses of houses that were lost.

It might take two weeks to get a perfect count, but the sheriff decided to err on the side of rapidly releasing information.

“I’d rather disappoint one person, but get it right to another thousand,” Maketa said.

Yesterday, firefighters were aided by some rainfall in the burn area.

Hickenlooper toured the zone and said he was happily drenched.

“I’m soaking wet and I’m a little chilly, but I’ve never been so happy to say this,” he said.

The fire zone remained at 25 square miles, thanks to lighter winds and firefighters’ efforts to stamp out flare-ups. Sheriff’s deputies patrolling for looters directed crews to dozens of hot spots.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Nation/World

Local News
  • 140724_SN_DLE_GRIFFIN6 Peabody's new police chief receives upbeat welcome PEABODY -- More than 100 family, friends, well-wishers, city officials and police officers lined Wiggin Auditorium in City Hall yesterday afternoon to applaud the swearing in of former Salem Capt. Thomas Griffin as the city's new police chief. "Today

    July 24, 2014 8 Photos

  • Guilty verdicts in probation trial

    July 24, 2014

  • Ex-Market Basket boss wants to buy company

    July 24, 2014

  • Court finds Danvers nursing home at fault DANVERS -- The estate of an elderly woman who died after a fall and weeks of neglect at a Danvers nursing home has won a $14.5 million verdict in a wrongful death and negligence case. A Middlesex Superior Court jury awarded the estate of Genevieve Ca

    July 24, 2014

  • chism2 [Duplicate] Chism arraigned in second attack

    BOSTON -- When the woman came out of the bathroom, accused murderer Philip Chism was standing a foot in front of her. He put his hands around the clinician's neck, started choking her and pushed her up against a cinder block wall, a prosecutor said.

    July 24, 2014 3 Photos 7 Stories