Florida man turned away at firehouse trying to report blaze, told to call 911 instead
A Florida man attempting to get local firefighters to save his home — which was ablaze four houses away — was rebuffed at the firehouse door and told to call 911 instead, reports the Sun Sentinel.
Neville Morrison, 67, of Plantation, said he ran bare-footed to the station down the street from his home where he was met by a emergency medical technician who insisted he call 911 by phone and not report the fire in person.
According to Morrison, he told the EMT he had no phone, but to no avail.
“I said, ‘I have no phone,’” Morrison recalled. “I said, ‘You can see the blaze coming out of the roof of my house.’ He told me twice to call 911, and then he closed the door with me standing outside.”
“It was not possible for me to call 911,” Morrison explained. “I thought running four houses down, where they are, it would be sufficient time for them to respond and to save my house.”
After a neighbor and a passerby called 911, the volunteer crew had to wait for at least three members to arrive at the station before engines could roll.
According to the fire department, it took them seven minutes and 58 seconds after the first 911 call to arrive at Morrison’s house.
The Fire Department has launched an investigation into the Nov. 15 incident with fire spokesman Joel Gordon saying, “Obviously that’s not the way we do business.”
Gordon noted that it normally takes the fire department approximately six minutes to respond, and that the response time is not part of the investigation. “It’s not ideal for us, but it’s not out of the ordinary.”
Gordon also stated the EMT was a longtime employee with a clean record who should have kept Morrison at the station while he called dispatch himself.
“That’s not what transpired,” he said, adding that the EMT has been counseled.
No one was injured in the fire which consumed the home, but two cats died.
Morrison, his wife, and three children — ages 24, 18 and 16 — have been relocated to a hotel by the American Red Cross.