Yarnell Fire District Chief Jim Koile resigns in wake of controversy

YARNELL, AZ - Yarnell Fire Chief Jim Koile announced Tuesday that he will resign.

This comes just three months after the Yarnell Hill Fire tragedy that left 19 men dead and more than 100 homes destroyed.

People living in Yarnell have mixed reactions to the news. Many say someone needs to be held accountable for the fire.

ABC15 spoke with Pete Andersen, Yarnell's former fire chief.

"My first thought was, why didn't they get this on Friday night," Andersen said.

The Yarnell Hill Fire started on Friday, June 28th.

"To them it just seemed like small potatoes," Andersen said.

Two days later, 19 firefighters died and more than 100 homes burned to the ground.

"They didn't do anything about the fire on Friday night. They just let it burn. And when you're this close to population, you don't do that," Andersen said.

He said someone needs to be held responsible for what happened.

"Having been the fire chief here for 12 years, and I know most of the people in this town, I think it was handled extremely poorly," Andersen said.

According to a member of the Yarnell Fire Board, Chief Koile's decision to resign has been in the works for weeks. He said it's time for someone younger to take the job, and that the chief was content with the role the Yarnell Fire Department played in the Yarnell Hill Fire.

Read Chief Koile's resignation letter here.



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