EAST LIVERPOOL, Ohio (WKBN) – A call for help was answered in Columbiana County Sunday but that help was sent to the wrong place.
“I heard sirens and look out my window, and there was flames coming up through the air,” said Nathan Smith, a neighbor.
Jennifer Badgely was across the street and saw the fire from her deck.
“Of course, I grabbed my coat, my boots and I ran over there because I knew the people were home because I saw the cars in the driveway,” she said. “As soon as I got to the house, the grandmother came out with the baby.”
Badgely said she asked if anyone had called 911 and the woman said she was on the phone with the fire department.
Dispatchers had gotten an address of 1707 Lisbon Street and sent emergency help there — on the other side of town, seven minutes away from where the fire actually was on Wooster Street.
“While our firefighters were en route to that scene, they called and said no, the fire was at the current location,” said East Liverpool Fire Chief Bill Jones.
East Liverpool rang out a third alarm for the fire and firefighters were there in two minutes.
Badgely said she called 911 but because of the hills and three states being so close together, her call was answered out of state.
“Apparently that happened to several of the calls. They went to the Beaver County 911 Center,” Jones said.
East Liverpool sent 14 firefighters to the scene and all of them were there within 11 minutes of the first call.
All four people in the home had gotten out fine — but minutes count in every emergency.
“It’s very sad because I don’t think — those people don’t have insurance,” Jones said. “They lost a lot of their belongings and they have no way to get reimbursed for that.”
Badgely said the fire department did a good job of getting the fire out but she cried the next morning when looking across the street.
“It troubled me,” she said. “You got a family homeless now. You take a look at that house, they’re not going to be moving back in any time soon.”
The Red Cross has helped the family find a place to stay.
Jones believes the fire was accidental and that it started in a second-floor bedroom.
He said he will talk to the 911 center Tuesday about where the confusion started with the incorrect address.
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