Woman puts out fire at her home when 911 doesn't answer

ATLANTA, Ga. -- Imagine you're faced with an emergency, you call 911 for help, only no one answers. Some people in DeKalb County say it's happened to them repeatedly. One woman had to put out a fire at her own house because she couldn't get through.

"The whole thing just exploded into 6 to 10 foot flames," said Kim Zweig.

She didn't panic when saw her grille was on fire.

"First instinct, call 911. Well I called and it rang 10 times, it just kept ringing and ringing and no one would answer," she said.

When she couldn't get through she knew she had to do something to stop it.

"I was really afraid to go out the door, it was so hot, I could feel the heat," she said.

Years ago, she was a firefighter in Ohio, so she decided to do what she could to stop the fire.

"Here's the broom I used, it's all kind of melted," she said.

After the fire was out, she was so upset 911 never answered, she posted about it on Facebook and saw dozens of people in Brookhaven had the exact same complaint. Her next door neighbor couldn't get them to pick up either.

"Head-on collision right in front of me. I pull out my cell phone, call 911 -- nothing," said Dottie Setliff.

After 11Alive called the DeKalb County police about her concerns, they launched an investigation.

"911, that's the lifeline for all of our citizens, and it's important that we take it very seriously," said Interim Chief Jim Conroy.

This call log obtained by 11Alive shows Zweig's call to 911 lasted 24 seconds before she says she hung up to put out the fire. The log shows the 911 operator tried to call back three times, but the line was busy.

So what's the problem? Dekalb Police Chief Jim Conroy blames the cell phone carrier.

"A land line is the preferred method to call, the 911 system was designed with land lines in mind," he said.

While they get to the bottom of what happened at Zweig's house, she says everyone is lucky it wasn't worse.

"I'm a taxpayer and I can't depend on our 911 system in this county, that's what was upsetting," said Zweig.

The City of Brookhaven says they're switching to a new 911 system in August, partly because of those complaints, but the DeKalb Police Chief says no one has reported any issues to him, and they do a thorough investigation every time there is a problem.


To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment