Many Herriman residents criticizing response time of firefighters

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HERRIMAN -- Many residents affected by the Herriman fire are criticizing the response time of firefighters and police.

When police first ordered people to get out of their homes late Sunday afternoon, the fire was starting to intensify.


A number of residents got reverse 911 calls and cleared out quickly. Others say they never got notification and got stuck in traffic jams.

While the massive fire destroyed only three homes, plenty of people are critical about the response of firefighters and many residents are still fuming.

People say they fought the fire on their own for several hours before they saw any firefighters.

"We had no fire department up here, not a truck even up here," said Jon Olsen, who helped secure his father's home. "They rolled in after everything was put out."

Robert Burns lost his home. He says there was a fire hydrant 100 feet from his house. As he fled the area, he told firefighters his house was on fire.

"They just sat there and gave me a blank look, and they never moved," Burns said.

As the firestorm blew toward Herriman homes around 3:30 Sunday afternoon, Unified Police first received notice Camp Williams was fighting a fire.

A half hour later, Sheriff Jim Winder says police were requested for traffic control. They started directing evacuees 11 minutes later.

"Deployment of resources occurred very, very rapidly," Winder said. "There were other problems that occurred in terms of notifications of residents, but from a strict asset deployment perspective, I'm very confident after reviewing our dispatch logs and other elements that we got resources out here jiffy skippy."

The sheriff says tension is also rising between residents and officers Monday afternoon as some people are allowed back to their homes and others are not.

Residents that live between 5600 West and 6800 West south of Butterfield Park were allowed back early Monday afternoon. Others are still awaiting word.

In all, about 5,000 residents have been displaced from more than 1,600 homes. Only residents of around 200 homes have been allowed back. The fire destroyed three homes.


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Jed Boal


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