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It took firefighters 19 minutes to find a deadly house fire, Durham report says

DURHAM, NC (WNCN) – Durham City and County officials are investigating after it took 19 minutes for a fire engine to locate a house fire that proved fatal Sunday morning, according to a report by CBS 17.

The fire was reported around 6 a.m. at the 3700 block of East Geer Streetaccording to Jason B. Shepherd, Chief Fire Marshal of Durham County.

When the fire brigade arrived, flames were shooting out of the wooden house.

After the fire was put out, a man was found dead inside, Shepherd said.

Several fire departments responded to the fire, including Durham Fire, Redwood Fire, Bahama Fire and Creedmoor fire departments.

According to the computerized incident report obtained by CBS 17, the call for help came at 6:02 am, but the first fire engine didn’t arrive on scene until 6:21 am, which was 19 minutes later.

Redwood Volunteer Fire Chief Randy Clements told CBS 17 that they received multiple addresses from the dispatcher for the fire and that confusion caused a delay in their response to the fire.

CBS 17 was also able to listen to the Durham City Fire audio archives on broadcastify.com. According to the radio audio and CAD report, at 6:03 a.m. the caller changed the address from 3732 East Geer Street to 1132 East Geer Street.

This change brought the new location into the city limits, so the borough units began to quit.

But when firefighters tried to find 1132 East Geer Street, they couldn’t find that address.

“There is no 1132 East Geer Street, there is nothing at this point,” one responder said over the radio.

The 911 agent tried to call the caller back but said he was getting the caller’s voicemail.

Redwood Volunteer Fire units returned to the original location at the 3700 block of East Geer Street and said on the radio they found a fire, according to the CAD report. That was at 6:21 a.m

Durham City spokeswoman Beverly Thompson said the city was mourning the tragic loss of life caused by the East Geer Street fire. Thompson said the Durham Emergency Communications Center (DECC) is continuing to investigate the case.

However, she said after initial verification that all procedures were properly followed by the call taker and the dispatcher and that the information used to dispatch the responding units matched the information provided by the caller.

The Durham County Fire Marshal’s office is still investigating the fire, and the fire marshal said the fire started in the attic of the home because the chimney in that area was damaged.

When considering how long it should take firefighters to respond to fires, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) said the standard response time for at least 90 percent of calls is 9 minutes and 20 seconds.

https://www.cbs17.com/news/local-news/durham-county-news/durham-report-says-it-took-19-minutes-for-firefighters-to-find-deadly-house-fire/ It took firefighters 19 minutes to find a deadly house fire, Durham report says

DUSTIN JONES

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