Casper's Fire Chief Kenneth King apologized Wednesday for an email -- he called it a joke -- asking a fire investigator to delete certain video evidence during the investigation of the 2015 Cole Creek Fire.

The fire started with a burning wood chip pile at the landfill on Saturday, Oct. 10. The next day, winds whipped the embers into a blaze that burned over 16 square miles, destroyed 14 homes, displaced hundreds of residents, and killed livestock until it was extinguished on Oct. 15.

During the investigation, King asked one of his inspectors on Oct. 14 to eliminate "bad parts" of video evidence being sought by the State Fire Marshal and the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation, according to emails obtained by the Casper Star-Tribune as part of a public records request.

King told the Star-Tribune he sent the email as a joke and admitted it was in poor taste.

 

Wednesday, King issued this apology:

I would like to offer my sincerest apologies for my inappropriate email. I deeply regret my
insensitive words and lack of judgement. Words simply cannot express how truly sorry I am for the way my actions have offended and embarrassed members of the community and the City organization. In no way did my email reflect the actions and views of the members of Casper Fire-EMS.
While I cannot take it back, I can assure you that this scar will guide my future actions as I strive to serve the community with the highest degree of professionalism and commitment.
Sincerely,
K.K~
Kenneth S. King
Casper Fire Chief

The city faces more than $1.7 million in claims related to the fire. The city's total liability is $500,000.