WASHINGTON - D.C. fire officials are trying to determine why a fire truck went to the home of a D.C. man having a heart attack only to leave without helping.
Nearly 19 minutes went by before paramedics finally arrived at the scene to provide treatment.
According to sources and records we have been able to see, just before 4 p.m. Sunday at a house on 60th Street in Northeast D.C., 67-year-old Albert Jackson went into cardiac arrest. His wife went to his aid along with two grandsons and they began CPR. They also called 911.
According to records, about five to six minutes later at 4:02 p.m., Truck 17 arrived on the scene. However, Truck 17 did not go into the house. Instead, as they pulled up into the block, they saw D.C. police with a man on the ground who was handcuffed. Police then told Truck 17 that they did not need their services and that they could leave the scene.
At that point, Truck 17 drove away and told dispatchers that they were told that D.C. police did not need their help.
According to the timeline that we now have, at 4:05 p.m., a second call came from Jackson's home wondering where the help was. At 4:15 p.m., nearly 19 minutes after the original call for help, Engine 10 with a paramedic on board finally arrived at the house and went inside. Jackson would later die from his heart attack.
Albert Jackson’s wife, Gloria, told FOX 5, “We tried CPR, we kept doing it, she told me let her know when the paramedics get here. About ten minutes later, they came in -- about six or seven of them came.”
We asked her if she thought her husband would have made it if help came a little sooner.
“Maybe. I'm not sure. I'll say maybe,” she said.
Gloria Jackson said that she was unaware of the incident until we came to her home and told her about it.
This incident comes days after a dispatcher sent D.C. firefighters to the wrong address on New Year’s Day where a fire burned unattended for about 12 minutes at an apartment building in Northwest D.C.
D.C. Fire and EMS Chief Gregory M. Dean said in a statement:
"The Department's review of this incident revealed that the responding DCFEMS unit responded to another nearby location where the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) had also responded, and the crew members assumed they were at the correct location to provide patient care. Upon arrival, the Company Officer was notified by MPD that medical care was not required. However, the crew was not at the location that had been dispatched which delayed medical care for the patient. The DCFEMS crew did ultimately respond to the correct location and rendered care to the patient.
We offer our condolences to the family. Our goal is to get to patients in critical need as soon as possible.
Going forward, the Department will require units to repeat the address to the dispatcher upon their arrival at a scene to ensure they are at the correct location. Additionally, the Department and the Office of Unified Communications (OUC) are working to incorporate clear language so that responding units have more information on the type of call they are being dispatched to."