Dallas Releases 911 Calls From Fourth of July Fire

Councilman says he's not happy with how calls were handled

By Omar Villafranca
|  Saturday, Jul 7, 2012  |  Updated 12:26 AM CDT
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Dallas police have released three 911 calls made after a Dallas home caught fire on the Fourth of July. Neighbors have said they could not reach an operator when they called to report the fire.

Omar Villafranca, NBC 5 News

Dallas police have released three 911 calls made after a Dallas home caught fire on the Fourth of July. Neighbors have said they could not reach an operator when they called to report the fire.

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The city of Dallas released on Friday three 911 calls made to dispatchers after an early-morning house fire on the Fourth of July in Oak Cliff.

The fire in the 1900 block of Berwick Avenue gutted the house. Residents in the area said they were upset that operators did not immediately answer 911 calls.

In one of the audio recordings released by police, dispatchers called back a man who called 911 and hung up.

The man told dispatchers that there was a fire on Berwick Avenue. He could not give an exact address when asked but said the fire was near Sussex Avenue. He also said it was near Corinth Street, behind the fire station.

The fire station he referred to is Station No. 23, which is less than a quarter of a mile from the home.

On another 911 call, a young woman can be heard speaking in a frantic voice. When dispatchers answer, she immediately gives the address of the house next to the one on fire. After she's transferred to Dallas Fire-Rescue, she proceeds to give the address next to the burning home three more times.

Here is a transcript of part of that call:

DFR Dispatch: Fire Department.
Caller: Yes, uh there's a fire at 1910 Berwick Avenue.
Dispatch: Stop yelling so I can understand you.
Caller: There's a fire at 1910 Berwick Avenue.
Dispatch: Is it a house, grass...
Caller: Yes, it's a house fire. A house fire.
Dispatch: What the address? Slow down ma'am.
Caller: 1910 (pause)
Dispatch: OK?
Caller: Berwick Avenue.
Dispatch: Berwick?
Caller: Yes, avenue.

In the final call released by police, a man curses at dispatchers after he's called back. Sirens can be heard in the background.

A partial transcript is below:

Caller: I see y'all finally answered the [expletive] phone. There's a fire over here
man. On Berwick Avenue.
Dispatch: That's why we can't get out there. So many people are calling from that
area.
Caller: Golly!

NBC 5 played two of the calls for Councilman Dwaine Caraway, who said earlier this week that he had questions about how the 911 system was working at the time of the fire.

Caraway said Friday that he didn't like what he heard on the calls and was concerned that the city only released three calls. He said he wants to hear all 177 calls that came in during the 15-minute window in question to see how other calls were handled.

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