TWISP, Wash. -- Despair and frustration are brewing near Twisp over the state Department of Natural Resources' response to the Carlton Complex fire. Two former area firefighters claim DNR officials, combined with local departments, didn't work hard enough to save homes in the Loup Loup Valley.
Kim Maltais, a former Twisp District firefighter, lost his home and most of his dogs in the fire.
In the 20 years I fought fire, that was the closest I ever came to not making it, said Maltais.
Maltais says he battled the blaze with a garden hose as firefighters a field away were ordered to stand down.
We were basically left on our own to defend ourselves and our property, said Maltais. Nobody would help us.
It's a claim that's hard to believe, but there's another witness to this story-- neighbor and former U.S. Forest Service firefighter Robbie Risley.
We saved five houses with no pumper truck and with no help, said Risley.
The Department of Natural Resources and other responding local departments dropped the ball in the Loup Loup Valley, according to Risley. He says they neglected to put out hotspots which later flared up and destroyed hom
It's beyond my comprehension why they did nothing at all, Risley said.
Maltais claims crews sat in a field and took pictures of the flames. DNR says it is investigating the accusations. An agency spokeswoman told KING 5, it would be really uncharacteristic of firefighters to ignore the needs of homeowners.
People in the area are now asking if communication was an issue or if orders were mixed up. Both former firefighters say they are working to find out and they plan on filing a complaint.
KING 5 has heard similar concerns about the response effort from people living in the Carlton Complex fire area over the past few days.
Incident commanders can come from local state a federal agencies. The former firefighters claim the buck stopped with DNR in this case. At this time DNR is investigating to see if it was in charge in that area at the time of the fire.