Some Prescott Country Club residents evacuated needlessly

Posted: Updated:
Some people received an evacuation notice even though there wasn't an order during the height of the Goodwin Fire. (Source: CBS 5) Some people received an evacuation notice even though there wasn't an order during the height of the Goodwin Fire. (Source: CBS 5)
Emilia Boak remembers one of her neighbors saying he received an alert on his cell phone that their Prescott County Club neighborhood had an evacuation order. (Source: CBS 5) Emilia Boak remembers one of her neighbors saying he received an alert on his cell phone that their Prescott County Club neighborhood had an evacuation order. (Source: CBS 5)
Yavapai County sheriff's officials say the people who received the alert most likely did not specify a "notification radius" when they signed up for the alerts. (Source: CBS 5) Yavapai County sheriff's officials say the people who received the alert most likely did not specify a "notification radius" when they signed up for the alerts. (Source: CBS 5)
Boak said neither she, nor her neighbors were upset about the unnecessary evacuation order. (Source: CBS 5) Boak said neither she, nor her neighbors were upset about the unnecessary evacuation order. (Source: CBS 5)
DEWEY, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

Yavapai County sheriff's officials say it was user error that resulted in some Prescott Country Club residents receiving notices to evacuate, as the Goodwin Fire burned out of control last week.

"There were quite a few people moving out of here," said Emelia Boak, who lives in the Dewey subdivision whose residents received the notification.

[RELATED: Goodwin Fire 93% contained]

Boak said several of her neighbors signed up for the notifications through their cell phones. Last Wednesday, the area was already under a pre-evacuation notice, when some of the neighbors told her the evacuation order had come across their phones.

[SPECIAL SECTION: Arizona wildfires]

"I got on the phone with my husband and said, 'Get home because we've got to get our stuff packed and ready,'" said Boak.

A spokesman for the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office told CBS 5 Investigates the order was not a mistake. But it was not meant for that subdivision.

"We never sent a directed message to the Prescott County Club. Those who activated the mobile application and did not specify a notification radius, may have received a message due cell phone tower proximity i.e. a location base alert," wrote Dwight D'Evelyn, who is the media relations coordinator with YCSO.

[SPECIAL SECTION: CBS 5 Investigates]

D'Evelyn stated that the county used the Code Red Emergency Notification System, which he credits with helping to keep residents informed during the emergency. He pointed out that no civilians were injured during the fire.

Boak said neither she, nor her neighbors were upset about the unnecessary evacuation order.

[SLIDESHOW: Goodwin Fire south of Prescott ]

"We're grateful that we didn't have to (evacuate.) And I'm happy that a lot of people are back in their homes and if anything, they should be grateful that they had a home to come back to," said Boak.

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Morgan  LoewMorgan Loew is an investigative reporter at CBS 5 News. His career has taken him to every corner of the state, lots of corners in the United States, and some far-flung corners of the globe.

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Morgan Loew
CBS 5 Investigates

Morgan’s past assignments include covering the invasion of Iraq, human smuggling in Mexico, vigilantes on the border and Sheriff Arpaio in Maricopa County. His reports have appeared or been featured on CBS News, CNN, NBC News, MSNBC and NPR.

Morgan’s peers have recognized his work with 11 Rocky Mountain Emmy Awards , two regional Edward R. Murrow Awards for investigative reporting, an SPJ First Amendment Award and a commendation from the Humane Society of the United States. Last fall, Morgan was inducted into the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Silver Circle, in recognition of 25 years of contribution to the television industry in Arizona.

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