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County Lines, Cellular Complicate Fire Response

An 81 year-old Ohio woman died in a house fire reported by her neighbors, but firefighters initially responded to the wrong location because of cellular 911 calls routed to an adjacent county and duplicate street names. Mary Clark was found dead inside her home when the fire was extinguished, and the state fire marshal is investigating if a quicker response might have saved her. Fire officials say the first 911 call reporting the at 8160 Lithopolis Road in Franklin County came from a cellular phone. Because the address is near the boundary for two other counties, the call was routed to the Fairfield County sheriff’s comm center. The caller gave the correct address, which happens to be duplicated in the two counties. The caller also said the fire was in Bloom Township, which is only in Fairfield County. Based on the address and the Bloom County mention, Fairfield County dispatchers sent firefighters to that address in their jurisdiction, four miles from the actual fire. Fifteen minutes later, firefighters discovered the mistake, and Madison Township firefighters were dispatched to the correct location in Franklin County. Read more about the incident and listen to 911 calls here.

2 comments… add one

  • Tara Dolzani October 14, 2010, 8:57 am

    I’m just writing in reference to the spelling error. The typo is in this statement (two other countries). I think they mean Counties. That’s all, only an FYI.

    • Gary Allen October 14, 2010, 1:15 pm

      Thanks for noticing that typo. I’ve corrected it.

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