Big mistake shuts down Pasco County 911 center

Worker accidentally triggered Fire Suppression
Posted at 6:49 PM, Mar 03, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-03 18:49:33-05

The Pasco County 911 center was shut down Friday all because one button was not pushed.

"A worker accidentally triggered the fire suppression system which cut the power to the communication center," says Kevin Gurthrie , Director of Pasco County Emergency Services.

Here's what happened:

A contracted worker --- not with the county fire department --- was testing the building's fire suppression system, but forgot to hold the abort button, which triggered the sprinklers and shutdown the power...shutting off the phones.

The incoming 911 calls were supposed to be immediately transferred to neighboring Polk county.

The only problem is Polk County officials tell ABC Action News they never got those calls and 45 calls in the span of 48 minutes were left unanswered.

"I'll use the word chaotic moment ,a lot of moving parts, fire department trying to get into the building to find out what's going on, the supervisors moving five six seven things at one time for a communication system that his lost power," says Guthrie.

And in the fog of chaos one key command was not communicated to the company that handles the 911 center's communication system.

"We did not specifically say transfer our calls to Polk County. There was a simple breakdown in communication. It didn't get communicated correctly and we are going to fix that," says Guthrie. "To those individuals I will stand up here and say I'm sorry that happened we hope that never happens again." 

So what happened with those 45  unanswered calls?

Pasco 911 was able to call back 23 of them and got them the help they needed.

But because of the computers shutting off there are 22 calls tonight that the county says they have no way to trace. The director personally apologizing to them and urges them to call back.



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