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Durham Dispatcher Fired After Vonage 911 Call

A three-year Durham (NC) Emergency Communications Center dispatcher has been fired for mishandling a 911 call reporting a fatal fire, made on a Vonage VoIP telephone line, and which didn’t display the caller’s telephone number or address. Theresa Hopkins did not follow the comm center’s procedures for handling such calls, center director James Soukup said, and was terminated last Thursday. Marvin Jacobs died in the fire, but fire officials weren’t sure if the 4-1/2 minute response delay created by Hopkins entering the wrong address contributed to his death. During a press conference to discuss the circumstances of the incident, Soukup said the caller correctly spelled the street name three times. However, Hopkins entered a similarly-sounding street name into CAD, sending fire units six miles south of the fire. Soukup said Hopkins could have asked for a cross-street or district name when questioning the caller, but did not. Read more and listen to audio of the press conference here.

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