IRVINE (CBSLA) — The Orange County Fire Authority announced Friday that the agency will be overhauling its dispatch and deployment procedures following a report which identified a number of missteps that delayed response time to one of the country’s most devastating wildfires by as much as 70 minutes.
Around 9,200 acres were burned and more than two dozen structures, 15 of which were homes, were destroyed by Canyon Fire 2 in 2017.
“Our goal is to ensure a timely review of existing policies and procedures, assess training needs, facilitate implementation of the necessary changes and do this as soon as possible,” said OCFA assistant chief of support services Dave Anderson.
An Independent Review Panel report discovered that the agency failed to adequately respond to a 911 call made by a motorist at 8:28 a.m. on October 9, 2017.
The motorist reported flames in an Anaheim Hills area that had previously been scorched by fire.
According to the report, the OCFA, however, did not initiate a full response to Canyon Fire 2 until around 9:40 a.m.
“If that call at 8:32 had been taken seriously, it would have made a significant difference in fighting this fire,” said Orange County Supervisor Todd Spitzer. “A significant difference. But we’ll never know.”
Anderson went on to assure, however, that with changes being made in protocols, “we can confidently say that this won’t happen again.”
A separate probe of the OCFA’s response to the fire has been ordered by the Board of Supervisors and is expected sometime next month.
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