Yesterday, a fire in a Crown Heights apartment building killed a man, 42, and his two young sons, ages 2 and 1. While the cause of the fire has not yet been determined, fire officials said incense had been burned in the bedroom (where the fire began) and that there were no smoke detectors in the home.
The adult victim, Myrtel Jean, did not call 911—a school teacher at P.S. 138 did. The NY Times reports, "With her students panicking, the teacher called 911 and gave a rough address of the building. Fantasia Brown, 10, a student in the class, said the class was seated when a boy yelled: 'It’s a fire! It’s a fire!' The girl said that the teacher responded: 'Somebody might be hurt. Somebody has to call the police.'" The firefighters went to an intersection, but WCBS 2 says a pedestrian pointed them to the right place—George Burks said, "I'm like 'yo fellas, it's around the corner. It's this building around the corner.' And I brought them around here." The Daily News explains:
Firefighters briefly pulled up to the corner of Prospect Place before being directed to the correct St. Marks Ave. building around the block, witnesses said.
Three minutes and nine seconds elapsed from the initial 911 call to the firefighters' arrival at the Prospect Place intersection - an excellent response time, FDNY officials said. It then took the firefighters another minute or so to reach the accurate address, sources said.
The Uniformed Firefighters Association wonders if the FDNY's response time was to blame for the fatalities and said the new 911 dispatch system was at fault, but the FDNY told the News, "They did not respond to a wrong address. They responded to the location provided by both calls to 911."