Fire Call Nets Confusion, Discipline

Pierceton Fire Department was initially called for a skid loader on fire in a tool shed, but there was some difficulty with locating the address and dispatcher error was to blame.

Initially the dispatcher who received the 9-1-1 call at approximately 8:30 a.m. Wednesday sent the fire department to 7293 E. 150 S. noting a skid loader was on fire in a tool shed where several 5-gallon drums of oil were also stored. Upon hearing the situation, Pierceton immediately called for a full assist from North Webster Fire Department, but soon radioed dispatch saying they could locate no such address.

The dispatcher provided a crossroads reference for the firefighters, but then said she would need to contact the initial caller for additional information.

Upon further investigation, it was determined the fire was actually at 7293 E. 1150 S. near Sidney. Fortunately, the property owner was able to get the skid loader out of the shed and into the yard before there was any additional loss of property.

Today, David Rosenberry, director of Kosciusko 911 Communications Center, said he heard the entire event on his own Milford Fire Department radio and, upon returning to work this morning, drafted disciplinary actions against the dispatcher who will not return to work until Saturday.

While it is a personnel matter, Rosenberry is not at liberty to say what the disciplinary action will be. However, he did confirm that, among the actions, the dispatcher “did not follow proper protocol” and will be remanded back to remedial training.

Although there was no loss of life, Rosenberry added, “It’s always a big deal” when dispatcher errors result in delayed responses. “It could have made the difference from not salvageable to salvageable.”

The dispatcher at the center of the issue has been with the 911 Communications Center since August 2011.



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