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An elderly 911-caller clearly spelled out the name of the street where she lived within 60-seconds during a fire last Friday, but Montgomery County, Maryland firefighters were still sent to the wrong address. WJLA-TV/ABC7 reporter Tom Roussey obtained the 911 call that shows this was a little more than a simple misunderstanding by a call-taker as Montgomery County Police had portrayed it in a statement three days after the fire occurred. Police operate the 911 center in the county, known as the Emergency Communications Center (ECC).
In the STATter911 story about the Monday statement we asked if there were other cues that the ECC call-taker may have missed pointing to the correct location. Reporter Roussey’s diligence in getting the recording shows there were some big clues missed. The call-taker, had entered the call as Piccard Drive in Rockville, but the woman had spelled out Prichard Road and said it was like “Richard with a P” within the first 60-seconds of the call. Prichard Road is in the Wheaton area about 10-miles away. Even though this information was available in the first minute, it didn’t immediately register with the call-taker and the correct dispatch didn’t occur until about seven-minutes after the initial dispatch that was incorrect.
The 911 call obtained by ABC7 makes clear that communication between the 911 operator and the elderly homeowner was difficult at times, with the homeowner not always immediately responding to the operator’s questions.
But it also shows that the homeowner spelled the name of her road and repeatedly described it as “like Richard with P in front.” Despite that, it took more than seven minutes for the 911 operator to figure out what the correct name of the road was.