Thursday, October 03, 2013

911 dispatcher laughed as man reported his girlfriend was on fire

Lalo Delgado's girlfriend caught fire in a freak accident on their way to Chiva Falls near Tucson, Arizona. But when he called for help, he says the way dispatcher handled the call was unprofessional. 911: 911 what is your emergency? Caller: My car just kinda caught on fire, my girlfriend caught on fire. Stuck in the middle of nowhere, Lalo couldn't believe what he heard next. "Her initial reaction was laugh and giggle in the background," said Delgado. "It was very disturbing."

911: Is your girlfriend still on fire? Caller: No. 911: No? (laughter in background) 911: Ok. (chuckles) Umm... Is your vehicle still on fire? Caller:It's hilarious huh? 911: Sir, is your vehicle still on fire? Caller: I just heard you smirk... Inaudible. 911: Ok, sir it wasn't regarding that ok. Caller: Yeah, I just heard you laugh. "You're calling for help, you shouldn't be laughed at," said Delgado. The Pima County Sheriff's Department admits their dispatcher messed up.

"We did not perform as I expect or the citizens of this county expect us to," said Capt. Jim Berry. "We're going to correct that. Certainly I can understand why he was upset. I would be too." But they call this an "isolated incident." County dispatchers receiver more than 400,000 911 calls. They dispatch approximately 130,000. "We're investigating what the laughter was about," said Berry. They started investigating before the complaint ever came in. And say despite the call taker's poor performance, response time wasn't affected. Lalo disagrees.

YouTube link.

"If she wasn't there playing around giggling and would have been right on it," said Delgado. "One minute, two minutes, every minute counts man." Lalo even called back. 911: 911, what is your emergency? Caller: Yeah. 911: Hello? Caller: Yeah I called in a few minutes ago and I just wanted to make sure you took me seriously.  By that time, help was already on the way. But his faith in 911, he says, already shaken. "Hopefully the next person that calls 911 doesn't get laughed at," said Delgado. The dispatcher is still working pending the outcome of the investigation. As far as Lalo's girlfriend, she is slowly recovering, but she has a long road ahead.


Anonymous said...

My girlfriend caught on fire!
Is your girlfriend still on fire?
Why would you pick up a 'phone if your girlfriend was on fire?
Made me laugh!

Anonymous said...

I'd cut the 911 operator a little slack. You never know how some weird thing is going to cause a case of the giggles--just consider the number of times news broadcasters have succumbed even while delivering sad or morbid stories.