Brooklyn Dad, Two Toddlers Die In Tragic Fire

1010 Wins - November 19, 2009


[Unable to display image]CROWN HEIGHTS, N.Y. (WPIX) - There appears to be two major mistakes that could have made the difference between life and death in a Crown Heights fire that took three lives.

First, fire officials say there were no smoke detectors in the apartment and secondly, it seems it took way too long to respond.

A family member broke down upon learning of the heartbreaking news.

A father and his two little boys, ages two and three perished in a fire in their apartment, most likely while the children were napping.

Desiree Watts watched in horror as paramedics frantically tried to resucitate the children.

"You just see them there trying to pump their little heart," Watts told PIX News. "It was sad just looking at because I knew they were gone too, because they were up thre too long."

It's the time the fire department took to respond to this blaze, that is causing major concerns, raising questions that maybe this family could have been saved.

A man talking to police who did not want to be identified tells PIX News he immediately called 911 when he saw smoke rising from the back of the building. However, he says firefighters rushed to the wrong location.

"I called and told them where the fire was and sure enough they sent the trucks where I called from and not the location of the fire, wasting Valuable time," he said.

Deputy Chief James Campbell confirmed the mistake but downplayed it's severity.

"The initial dispatch was to an intersection around corner that's where the alarm box is, and then we got further information of the exact address," said Campbell.

By phone the Vice President of the Uniformed Firefighters association told PIX news this an ongoing problem. He says dispatchers see the callers address on the caller ID and send a truck to that address instead of listening to what the caller is saying.