Hollywood home goes up in flames after residents got no answer when calling 911

Hollywood residents are very upset after a fire left them homeless.

HOLLYWOOD, Fla. – Hollywood residents are very upset after a fire left them homeless.

Those residents and some neighbors are blaming the 911 emergency system for firefighters not showing up sooner.

They claim they called 911 and no one picked up.

What’s left of the property is a charred-out mess, but what’s still heavy on the minds of some neighbors is what they say they went through trying to reach 911 over the weekend.

Dennis Diaz, who lives in front of the burned-up property, said he called three times and got n answer.

In Spanish, he told Local 10 News the first two times the phone just kept ringing, and the third time the call was disconnected.

He ended up getting in his car and driving to the nearest fire station to summon help, which was about three blocks away.

While fighting back tears, he said it was especially difficult to watch the house burn so slowly.

Local 10 News checked records with Broward Sherriff’s Office Regional Communications and it shows a 911 caller hung up around the time of the overnight fire, but police were dispatched to the area using GPS about a minute later.

An officer arrived within seconds, and by 1:40 a.m. firefighters were dispatched.

Hollywood Fire Rescue was on the scene by 1:45 a.m. which was seven minutes and 53 seconds after tracing that original 911 call.

“We thank god for the firemen though, they did a tremendous job,” said neighbor Dennis Turner. “Stuff was burning, getting close to the house. Man, we were in danger. We were scared.”

Currently, there is a nationwide shortage of emergency dispatchers and communities like Broward County are feeling the pinch.

Agencies like BSO are aiming to solve the problem with heavy recruitment.

Some 911 callers have expressed multiple rings before their calls are eventually answered. A spokesperson for BSO says all 911 calls will be answered and to never hang up once the phone starts to ring.


About the Author:

Terrell Forney joined Local 10 News in October 2005 as a general assignment reporter. He was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, but a desire to escape the harsh winters of the north brought him to South Florida.