DC 911 responds to FOX 5 after DC firefighters mistakenly sent to wrong address

A spokesperson with the office that handles D.C.’s 9-1-1 communication tells FOX 5 the call taker who sent firefighters the wrong Girard St. address Saturday will be addressed, “internally as a personnel matter.”

The mistake led to firefighters taking about six minutes to arrive on scene at the 1400 block of Northwest D.C. Thankfully the fire not as bad as it may originally been reported.

Dave Statter, a Public Safety Advocate who keeps tabs on DC Fire, noted this mistake comes about month after Office of United Communications Director Karima Holmes faced questioning from D.C. council members about a four minute delay to an August fire that ended in the deaths of a man and a 9-year-old child. Statter is calling for answers and reform “from the top down.”

“You know, there have been a lot of problems with 911 in the district. We know of the 708 Kennedy St. fire where two people died. It took four minutes just to dispatch the call even though a police officer was calling in desperately for help,” said Statter on Sunday, “There are no good answers coming out of 911. If you listen to the testimony of Karmina Holmes, the Director, she couldn’t give good answers to the council members and they were very skeptical of the information they got from her. You could see it. So something needs to be done.”

On his website, “Statter911.com,” you can hear the auto recordings of the dispatch calls collected from OpenMHz. The calls were made a little after 11 a.m. Saturday, December 21st.

“Engine 26 to communications, it says five floors in the notes – there’s no structure in this area that’s five floors,” says a first responder sent to 1432 Girard St. Northeast.

The correct address is actually 1432 Girard St. NW, about three miles or 14-15 minutes away from the original location. FOX 5 spoke to tenants of the Girard St. NW building on Sunday. A cousin of the woman whose apartment was affected tells FOX 5 a pot of hotdogs was accidentally left on the stove. This burned and caused smoke to fill some of the building, but thankfully it turned-out not to be a serious fire.

The cousin, who goes by “Day Day.” Told FOX 5, “My aunt did actually say, she doesn’t want to come out here and talk but she did say that she called multiple times and it took them forever to come.”

After the mistake, an OUC Spokesperson says crews were dispatched accordingly. Here’s OUC PIO Wanda Royster Gattison’s full statement:

On Saturday, December 21st, the Office of Unified Communications (OUC) received a fire call which was dispatched to Girard St. in Northeast, and it was subsequently determined to be in Northwest, and re-dispatched accordingly causing a delay in service.  Fortunately, despite the delay,  the call only turned out to be for burned food. The OUC is tasked with handling 1.4 million 911 calls that occur in the District of Columbia each year, carrying a tremendous responsibility to ensure that every call is handled appropriately. As such, the 911 call taker who mishandled the Girard St. call will be addressed internally as a personnel matter.