Residents Unable to Report Fire on 911
Circling the News spoke to the family and nearby residents in the Highlands the day after a fire destroyed the front of a two-story home in the 16000 block of Santa Ynez.
“No one picked up, it was a recording,” one resident said, when she attempted to dial 911 shortly before 7 p.m. The recording asked her about a hostage. Which left her puzzled.
She thought that maybe it was a cell phone issue (since most Pacific Palisades residents know the Highlands has cell-phone reception problems), so she went into her house and tried 911 on her land line but got the same recording. Other neighbors and the house owner also tried to dial 911 but got the same recording about a hostage.
“No one ever picked up [on 911],” the resident said, “because if they had asked me if I could hold, I would have told them ‘No!’ because a house was on fire.”
CTN stopped by Fire Station 69 on Friday and was told that they had received a call at 7:04, from a caller on Sunset and Palisades Drive. The man reported smoke but didn’t know where it was coming from.
The firefighters were worried that people had tried to call the business phone at the fire station, instead of 911. “We love to talk to people, but if its an emergency, we might not be here,” one firefighter said. “That’s what’s unique about the Palisades, people will call the station directly.”
They emphasized that people should always call 911, because a dispatcher “will ask questions that we don’t and will send the appropriate response.”
In this case, people couldn’t reach 911, but kept trying. One resident called Station 23 directly.
Additionally, the homeowner had ACS Security, paying for a smoke alert response, which meant that company would call the fire station if smoke was detected. According to neighbors, that company was the last to respond, and only after another resident had called the company.
“The firefighters were great once they got here,” the homeowner said.
According to LAFD’s Brian Humphrey, “First arriving 30 LAFD Firefighters extinguished flames in just 25 minutes, confining fire within the 4,806 square-foot townhome/garages; No injury; Fire cause/loss/resident displacement to be determined.”
Dispatched units included a car from Battalion 9, and Stations 23, 69, 19 and 63.
The homeowners have been displaced. The garage and master bedroom were destroyed, and the rest of the home had extensive smoke damage. The family and its pet escaped unharmed.