Billings Fire Chief disputes Rep. Rehberg’s allegations

The Fire Chief of the Billings Fire Department, Paul Dextras, has disputed some of the allegations that U.S. Representative Denny Rehberg (R-MT) made in his lawsuit against the Billings Fire Department. Rehberg is asking for a cash payment from the city for damages done to his undeveloped Montana property during a 1,200-acre fire in 2008.

One of Rehberg’s allegations is that the fire department did not respond to requests for information and incident reports about the fire. However the Billings Gazette, after completing a one-page form and paying 25 cents per page, was able to get copies of them, including narratives, summaries of 911 calls and the names of firefighters and commanders on the scene.

Rehberg also claimed that the Billings city officials ignored a request to meet with them, but Chief Dextras said Wednesday that they met with the Rehbergs twice, and provided the Billings Gazette with incident reports about the meetings.

More information is at the Billings Gazette. HERE and HERE are letters to the editor at the newspaper about Rehberg’s suit. HERE is a video of a portion of Rehberg’s talk at the Montana State Fireman’s Association meeting on July 5.

Update July 21, 2010:

The Billings Gazette has copies of maps and fire reports:

Typos, let us know HERE, and specify which article. Please read the commenting rules before you post a comment.

Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.

2 thoughts on “Billings Fire Chief disputes Rep. Rehberg’s allegations”

  1. It’s lawsuits like this what could get people hurt or killed. This was a lightning caused fire that was whipped up by a windstorm. A very dangerous situation for firefighters. I believe the firefighters were right for getting out of the way. People are more important than property.

    Thanks for keeping us informed on this story.

    1. Mike, this is a great point. I agree whole heartedly. We should be speaking out about this. All of us.


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