KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Audio from a Dec. 26th 911 call was released to FOX 4 on Wednesday, and after reviewing it, authorities say it explains why the 911 dispatcher didn’t immediately send a fire truck to a burning home at 4018 E. 69th Street.
The call was at first categorized as a ‘medical call’ rather than a ‘fire call.’ Firefighters were called to the scene only after police and an ambulance arrived and saw heavy smoke billowing out of the rear of the house.
Just before midnight on Thursday, Dec. 26, the KCMO Fire Department received the emergency call from 15-year-old Nikia Porter, who said she was having trouble breathing.
“The first thing the call-taker does is they want to verify the address and phone number. They want to make sure we’re going to the correct location, and two in case we get disconnected we’re able to call the client party back,” said Nathan Dougan, Division Chief for the KC Fire Dept.
Once the address was logged, the dispatcher is heard asking Nikia about her emergency:
DISPATCHER: Okay. What’s the problem. Tell me exactly what happened.
NIKIA: My nose!
DISPATCHER: Okay. How old are you?
“It was never mentioned that there was a fire at the residence or anywhere near the patient,” explained Dougan. “She just stated that she was just complaining that she had shortness of breath.”
The dispatcher can be heard trying to get more information from the teen, who grows more frantic and desperate. They didn’t know at the time that the girl was trying to save her life and the life of her little sister from a fire.
DISPATCHER: “Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth and just answer the questions as best as you can. Are you clammy. Do you have asthma?”
Nikia curses at the dispatcher and tells her to just send help before she hangs up.
When firefighters were called in by police, they went into the house and heard a faint scream coming from the back of the home. There they found Nikia lying over her 5-year-old sister, in a manner which suggested that the teen was attempting to protect the little girl. Both were unresponsive and not breathing.
The girls were rushed to Children’s Mercy Hospital where they were treated and recovered and have since been released.
The fire department says the dispatcher followed all protocol correctly.