911 calls in Jersey City fire reveal chaos

Jim Hoffer live from Jersey City
March 19, 2014 2:23:33 PM PDT
There are new details about the confusion surrounding a deadly fire in New Jersey.

As Investigative Reporter Jim Hoffer was the first to report, firefighters were initially sent to the wrong location.

Now we are hearing the 911 calls revealing the chaos and confusion as people called for help.

911 Police Dispatch: 911 operator what is the address of your emergency?

A neighbor across the street from the burning home called 911 police dispatch as soon as he saw flames.

Caller: I live at 31 Grant St and there is a fire at someone's house across the street.

Dispatcher: Grant Ave.?

Caller: Grant Ave.

Dispatcher: Okay

Caller: Grant Ave.

Grant Avenue is the correct address. But the police dispatcher, as is protocol, transfers caller to fire dispatch which is when the mix up occurs.

Fire Dispatcher: Fire Department.

Caller: Hello can you send someone, grandma what's the address, 28 Grand. We need someone to come over now, fire inside the house.

Fire Dispatch: 28 Grand, any apartment?

Caller: Yeah, yeah, please, please, someone come!

Fire trucks responded to 28 Grand which was an empty lot. Crucial minutes were lost until the police and fire dispatch noticed the error.

Dispatch: All units redirect to 26 Grant with a T Avenue, Grant with a T Avenue.

"At its core, a tragic misunderstanding," said Jim Shea, Jersey City Public Safety Director.

The misunderstanding nearly doubled usual response time. It's unclear whether the delay would have made any difference in the deaths of a Bishop William Pickett, his wife, and two adult sons.

"It was an unfortunate set of circumstances that was unavoidable. It's an example if where one second either direction could have had a different outcome," Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop said.