Confusion over location delayed La Porte Fire response
REDDING, Calif. - Several KRCR viewers reached out to the newsroom with reports of being dismissed by dispatchers when they tried to call in the La Porte Fire.
We spoke to more residents in the town and they all had the same story. None of them place blame on fire crews, they know it was a hectic night, they just want answers.
"My girlfriend's aunt says that she called and they said 'Sorry ma'am there's no fire in Bangor'," said Bangor resident Ararat Brinker.
Another woman tells us she called just after 11 p.m. to report the flames and was told something similar.
CAL FIRE tells us they got the report at 12:45 a.m.
Recordings of the scanner that night show that there was a communication problem with the location of the fire. Bangor is close to county lines and there was confusion of which county should report to it.
Meanwhile, residents weren't allowed near the town in flames. Some were trying to take matters into their own hands.
"You have a sheriff out there telling me 'you can't go in there' well, who's going to save this stuff? Nobody. Well, that's obviously what happened because look at all the houses. Bangor is no longer."
Multiple residents tell us they saw fire trucks drive past but they never stopped.
CAL FIRE tells us a fire truck would never drive past a building on fire and not stop.
"I saw him drive past it and there were five or six deputy sheriff's out there and a game warden saw him drive past it so, no, that's not true," said Brinker.
Local Ron Pagenkopp also said there weren't any fire crews in sight as things went up in flames.
"My buddy saved his house, the fire department didn't help," said Pagenkopp.
Brinker said he's been through fires before and never seen a delayed response like he saw that night.
However, he doesn't blame fire crews. He knows they were working hard.
"Once they got here, they worked their butts off," Brinker said. "I think that the fire departments, I don't think it was the ground people that it was a problem. I think it was the people sending them to the direction they needed to be sent to."
CAL FIRE is working to get us an exact timeline of events from that night and fill in the blanks.