Finger-pointing, confusion grows over emergency notification problems

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JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. -- The war of words has intensified about the communication failures when the Lower North Fork Fire exploded, killing three residents before they could escape and sending others running for their lives.

It turns out roughly 100,000 homes in Jefferson County and Broomfield aren’t listed in the database for emergency notification calls.

Moments before he took amazing cell phone video of his home engulfed in flames, Andy Hoover calmly gave 911 dispatch this fire update.

"I'm in my driveway, the fire has burned through. I think I'm safe. My house may be burning. Yes it is (expletive). "

An engineer, he says he lived through the 1,200 plus degree fire only because he built his house with insulated concrete forms ... reinforced with steel.

"It's inside the house,” He told the 911 dispatcher. “It got in through a deck on the backside. The house is made out of ICFs but it got inside."

"So essentially I lived in a concrete house with a steel roof," he told FOX31 Denver.

Now Jefferson County says Andy and his three immediate neighbors who died, may be among as many as 100,000 homes not properly covered by an automated emergency notification system.

"There is no record anywhere of any 911 call,” Hoover says. “I certainly never heard one."

In just released documents, the County blames "First Call Network" which operates the county's notification system.

A county spokeswoman says the company used a faulty database, leaving some addresses without notification, while others were mistakenly called instead.

But First Call blamed the county for providing incorrect data, and also said it's waiting for the county to give them updated information.

Read the conference call summary from the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office between officials and the company

"The business of pointing fingers and getting emotional isn't going to solve a problem," Hoover says.

Later Thursday, First Call issued a statement that seemed to contradict what it said earlier.

“First Call is currently working with anomalies in the telephone data to ensure that all records are placed in the correct location. Both the telephone data and GIS layers, which are used to match the telephone numbers to the correct location, are provided by third parties and are not created by Jefferson County. This process is close to completion.”

Hoover wants all agencies to work to ensure a tragedy like losing his friends and neighbors doesn't happen again. "And all these facts will help us understand what happened, and the more we understand the better we can handle whatever has to be handled.”

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