Jersey City fatal fire dispatch transmissions reveal confusion over address

As a Jersey City family mourns the loss of four of its members in a massive fire this week, questions still remain as to whether firefighters could have been there sooner. (3/7/14)

JERSEY CITY - As a Jersey City family mourns the loss of four of its members in a massive fire this week, questions still remain as to whether firefighters could have been there sooner.

Dispatch calls among Jersey City firefighters were released Friday. The recordings document conversations as they were dispatched to the deadly fire on Grant Avenue.

When the call first went out, it was dispatched as "27 Grand Street." Five minutes after the initial call and after some confusion among the firefighters, the address is corrected.

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"All units redirect, 27 Grant with a 'T' Avenue, Grant with a 'T' Avenue," the transmission says.

Several other transmissions follow as fire crews attempt to confirm the address.

"Dispatch, Company 17, is that 27 Grant?" is heard, followed by, "That's correct, we are having an address problem Engine Company 17.  I was trying to contact Engine Company 8."

Company 8 is located just two blocks from the fire scene. The mixup has left residents angry. 

"All they had to do is come out of the fire station and they would have seen the smoke," says one neighbor. "You know what I mean? They're right there."

William and Elumae Pickett and their two adult sons lost their lives in the blaze. Daisy Pickett, the couple's niece, believes lives could have been saved if firefighters had arrived sooner. "If they had gotten here on time, my uncle probably would have been alive right now," she says.

It was seven to eight minutes before the first crews arrived on the scene. Mayor Steven Fulop says the response time should have been half that.

For video containing the released dispatch tranmissions, watch the clip to the left or click News 12 Extra on Optimum TV channel 612.

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