Conflicting info causes confusion about who's in charge at landslide

by: Graham Johnson Updated:


Snohomish County, Wash. - There were mixed messages on Monday about who was in charge of the disaster response to the Oso landslide. Snohomish County Emergency Management Director John Pennington told KIRO 7 he was, but a spokeswoman for the incident command said the top spot had switched to Type 2 Incident Commander Larry Nickey.

Pennington was last seen publicly on Thursday at a news briefing. On Monday, he told KIRO 7 he has since been working behind the scenes in Darrington, coordinating the future disaster response. Gov. Jay Inslee said state and federal officials are assisting the county.

"This is a combined incident response team led by local officials in Snohomish County," Inslee said.

Incident spokeswoman Cynthia Bork told KIRO 7 that Nickey, who works for the National Park Service at Olympic National Park, has been in charge since 6:00 a.m. Sunday, when the landslide response was upgraded to what's called a Type 2 incident, similar to a wildfire. She said Pennington is the one who signed off on this change.

Neither Pennington nor Nickey appeared at a news briefing Monday evening.