Fire officials have confirmed that responding fire units were initially dispatched to a West Jefferson address instead of the address of a fatal house fire on Saturday January 17th at 722 East Jefferson. Fort Wayne Fire Department (FWFD) Chief Peter X. Kelly and others have conducted a preliminary review of the dispatching information regarding communication for the emergency response and are releasing the following information.
The initial caller was in an alley behind the house and gave the address as being in the 800 block of Jefferson and said the building was totally on fire. Upon further questioning by the dispatcher the caller believed the address to be on West Jefferson. Initial dispatches to responding units informed them to respond to the West Jefferson. As a result of further questioning the initial caller realized the cross-street nearest the house fire was Hannah Street and at this time that the dispatchers rerouted the responding emergency crews to the East Jefferson location.
Chief Kelly said, “We do not believe the short delay affected the tragic outcome of the fire because the house was engulfed with fire when the first two occupants escaped the structure and by the on-scene accounts of the initial calls to City Communications dispatchers. A complete investigation will be conducted by the Fire Department as well as City Communications to gather all pertinent information and identify what could have been done differently to better ensure accurate information as it relates to this incident as well as future emergency responses. We also hope to have the investigation in determining the cause of the fire completed before the end of the week.”