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RANDY SHAW: DNR says blame is premature in Valley View Fire

by mboyle

Posted on October 19, 2009 at 1:12 PM

As promised, KREM-2 News interviewed the lead investigative agency in the Valley View Fire only to find it has yet to produce a full report on the cause and it says setting blame in the case is premature.

The (Spokane) Valley Fire Department issued two news releases on the matter. The first implies Dr. Tracy Berg was responsible for the fire that destroyed 11 homes.

The second exonerates Berg and places blame on a local teenager who it says was under Berg's supervision. It says Berg was there when the fire was lit and Berg gave permission for the juvenile to start the fire; but it wasn't properly extinguished.

The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Northeast Regional Manager Loren Torgerson said his department didn't publicly release a name, but the Valley Fire Department did:

"But, I don't think that does anybody any good to prematurely put out information without really having all the facts," Torgerson said.

DNR hasn't completed its investigation but says it is far along in the process.

So if DNR didn't put out those facts, then why did the Valley Fire Department put it out on its release?

Who decided to put the name out there to begin with and why? And who decided to take the name back with lightning speed and blame someone else within a 24-hour period?

Do you think the Valley Fire Department owes the public a full and complete explanation about all this?

Some say its failure to do so casts the only dark cloud over the valiant effort made by all the firefighters and law enforcement personnel on the front lines of the Valley View fire.

What do you think?

Hope to hear from you and the Valley Fire Department about this.