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Family says Broward County 911 system failure caused Davie man's death

Charlie Yaw, 30, had heart condition, relatives say

DAVIE, Fla. – The failure of Broward County's 911 system Friday may have resulted in one man's death.

"I was giving him compressions and we heard his heart beat," the victim's mother, Carol Wolff, said. "If they wouldn't have taken so long to get here, he would probably still be alive."

The mother of the man from Davie is furious and frustrated as her son was having a medical emergency and she said they couldn't get through to 911.

"I called 911. My aunt was still doing compressions. My neighbor here was calling 911. My neighbor over there was calling 911. My neighbor down the street was calling 911," the victim's cousin, Katherine Tane, said. 

Tane said the calls just kept "ringing, ringing, ringing, ringing."

The family said Charlie Yaw, 30, had a heart condition. He saw his cardiologist Thursday, but when his cousin went to check on him at 11 a.m., he was in bed and nonresponsive.

"He was blue around the mouth and a little damp," Tane said. "So we dropped to the floor and we started doing compressions and his heart was beating at that time. That was at 11 o'clock. By the time we got them here, it was 12:45."

The Broward County's Office of Regional Communications says it was informed by the Broward Sheriff’s Office at 12:05 p.m. that 911 calls were not going to the call centers. 

"It is too early to tell whether today’s 9-1-1 outage contributed to Mr. Yaw’s death," Alphonso Jefferson, assistant county Administrator, said.  "We are currently researching the timeline to see what actually occurred.  We owe it to the family to get them factual answers to their questions at this difficult time."

The victim's family says the system was down well before noon.

"Do you know how many people probably died today because of their mess up?" Tane said. "How many other people did they kill today? Because honestly, they killed them. That is my opinion."

The closest fire station is less than a mile from the family's home on Orange Drive. According to Google Maps, help was just six minutes away.

"It is devastating," Wolff said. "I don't know what to do, what else to do. I didn't have anything to shock him with or anything.

"About an hour and them not showing up. I was like, 'Oh my God, he is not going to make it, is he?' And then he didn't make it. He didn't make it. He is dead."


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