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Firefighters were dispatched to the wrong address. Now, officials want to know what went wrong

Two people were reportedly inside a burning home in Wheaton while crews were sent to Rockville.

ROCKVILLE, Md. — Montgomery County Emergency officials are working to figure out what caused firefighters to be sent to the wrong address on Friday.

Officials said a fire located at 2005 Prichard Street in Wheaton, Maryland was reported to dispatch. But, dispatchers sent first responders to 2005 Piccard Street in Rockville, Maryland.

Firefighters and paramedics arrived at the scene of the wrong house and found no fire. Crews then called in to report what they observed and dispatchers sent them to the correct address.

Two people were inside the burning home of the real emergency which was 10 miles away.

WUSA9 retrieved the audio from the confusion that was communicated through the scanners.

Paramedic: “Paramedic engine 732 is on the scene. I’ve got a 3-story middle of the road townhouse. Nothing showing.”

Paramedic: “I need you to do a callback and check the address. We’re at 2005 Piccard. Paramedic reports he’s got nothing going on.”

Dispatch: “Ok, paramedic engine 732 and units responding to 2005 Piccard Drive you may go in service. Updated address has been changed to 2005 Prichard Road.”

Once crews arrived at the correct address, they were able to rescue two people and a dog. Officials said one person suffered non-life-threatening injuries.

Fire officials determined the cause of the fire to be the result of some smoking materials that weren’t thrown away properly in an upstairs bathroom.

Montgomery County Police Department released a statement regarding the incident:

On Friday, December 6, 2019, at 10:18 p.m., the Montgomery County Emergency Communications Center (911) received a call requesting assistance for smoke in the residence at 2005 Prichard Street in Wheaton.  The call-taker misunderstood the caller and entered the address as 2005 Piccard Drive in Rockville, and then continued to get further details from the caller.  Montgomery County Fire and Rescue personnel were dispatched to the Piccard Drive address while the call-taker remained on the phone.  After an additional verification of the address by the call-taker, the address was corrected to 2005 Prichard Street and Montgomery County Fire and Rescue personnel were dispatched to the Prichard Street address in Wheaton.

A timeline of the event is provided below:

  • Call received at ECC at 10:18 p.m. – Sent to Dispatch at 10:21 p.m.
  • MCFRS dispatched to 2005 Piccard Drive in Rockville at 10:21 p.m.
  • MCFRS arrived at Piccard Drive address at 10:25 p.m. – nothing found
  • Call-taker corrects address to 2005 Prichard Street at 10:25 p.m
  • MCFRS dispatched to Prichard Street address at 10:27 p.m.
  • MCFRS arrived at Prichard Street address at 10:31 p.m.

MCFRS personnel were able to neutralize a fire that had started on the 2nd floor of the residence and all residents were safely removed from the home and provided medical treatment for non-life threatening injuries.  During the call, the call-taker stayed on the phone with the caller for close to 10 minutes, obtaining additional information and providing instructions for the caller to move to a safer location.

This incident is still under review and appropriate actions will be taken to mitigate the chances of such an error occurring in the future.  We continue to work with our MCFRS partners to provide expeditious responses to incidents within Montgomery County.

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