Delay in fire response time being investigated


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Reported by: Angela Hong
Updated: 12/11/2013 5:23 pm Published: 12/11/2013 4:57 pm


People in a south Tulsa neighborhood want to know why it took so long for firefighters to get to a house fire Tuesday night.

FOX23's Angela Hong found the fire department closest to the home near 112th and Yale was not the one called to the scene first.

Fire quickly swept through the home Tuesday night. By the time firefighters got to the scene, it was too late to save the three dogs and two cats inside.

FOX23 News found an error delayed the fire department response.

"It was pretty embarrassing for us to not get there sooner. It's not acceptable for us," said Tulsa Fire Department Public Information Officer Stan May.

He said records show Station No. 9 firefighters radioed the 911 dispatch center around 4 p.m. to let it know they were in service.

But around 6:01 p.m., after the 911 center got the call about the fire, they didn't get the call.

"Dispatch sent the first alarm assignment, but they didn't send one to Station 9, which is obviously the closest one to the house," said May.

At 6:01, crews from other fire stations were on their way to the fire.

Meanwhile, around 6:03, Station 9 heard commotion on the radio about a fire close by and called dispatch to find out.

At almost 6:07, Engine 9 got to the scene. Those firefighters were the first ones to arrive.

May said about three and a half minutes were wasted because of the error and they were precious minutes in this fast-moving fire.

"By the time the first engine got there, the fire was already through the roof. So we were well behind where we should have.been," he said.

Neighbors are in disbelief a mistake like this could have happened.

"Someone actually dropped the ball on this. And it's painful. I'm really sorry for my neighbor," said one neighbor.

The owners of that home told FOX23 nearly everything was destroyed.

City officials said they are investigating what happened. The fire department believes there was either a human or computer error at dispatch that showed Station 9 was not in service when it actually was.


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