WASHINGTON (DC News Now) — Questions still remain over the response from 911 dispatchers to firefighters three days after 10 dogs died in a flash flooding in Northeast D.C.
The initial 911 calls put out said there was a water leak, not severe flooding.
Firefighters responded to the flooding on their own to rescue people on Rhode Island Avenue trapped in the water. As for the people and pets trapped in District Dogs, there are concerns about the response.
City Administrator Kevin Donahue, said there were at least three 911 calls made between 5:06 p.m. and 5:18 p.m. on Monday.
“Each of the calls came from different individuals, two of them from out of the jurisdiction, the last one at 5:18 p.m.,” he said. “From it, looks like individuals who were inside of District Dogs.”
At 5:06 p.m. firefighters radioed back to the Office of Unified Communications saying they set up a command post.
Four minutes later at 5:10 p.m., a dispatcher radioed and said “public assist at the District Dogs at 680 Rhode Island Avenue, Northeast for a water leak.”
Though there was actually six feet of water outside the building that crashed in.
Donahue said a call to 911 at 5:18 p.m. made it clear that there was an emergency.
At 5:21 p.m. dispatchers told firefighters there were seven people trapped inside, in what the caller said was 12 feet of water.
Four minutes later at 5:25 p.m. a different dispatcher asked if they knew about people trapped inside.
“That’s affirmative,” a firefighter said. “We have the boat working their way to rescue two people, and they’re going to go check it now.”
It’s still unclear when firefighters first knew the people and dogs that were trapped inside. Donahue said they still need time to gather more information.
“I need for the folks looking at it to listen to all the radio traffic, to interview folks and put timestamps on it and that yet hasn’t happened,” Donahue said.
He said he’s talked with both the fire chief and the OUC director but transcriptions of all the radio traffic is necessary for clarity.