Kansas City, MO, 9-1-1 Dispatchers put Callers on Hold as House Burns

April 12, 2024
As residents waited for calls to be answered, others grabbed garden hoses to hold back the rapidly growing fire.

From an early age, everyone knows if there's an emergency, to call 9-1-1.

Residents did just that when they saw a spreading grass fire inching toward a house. They never expected to be put on hold before they could report the urgent need for the fire department.

While some remained on hold, others grabbed garden hoses in an effort to quell the flames.

“We’re all told to dial 911 whenever there is an emergency. And this kind of experience raises the question is that really the best thing to do? Does that even work?” Mark Logan a neighbor who called 911 told Fox 4. 

“There was a woman who finally she just gave up. I’m going to drive to the fire station. Is that what we’re going to have to do -- drive to the fire station or drive to the police department these days,” Daniel Quintero a neighbor who also was placed on hold.

While others were still on hold, Logan said he also called since no one had gotten through. His call at 4:38, got the same action from the dispatcher. 

Fire officials said they were not dispatched for another six minutes after Logan made his first call.

“What would happen if it were an active shooter in a school and the teachers got put on hold for 10 minutes,” Quintero said.

He and the other neighbors believe firefighters would have been able to save the house if they had been dispatched earlier.

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