Local News

Fayetteville Annexation May Be Cause Of 911 Mix-Up

Posted December 5, 2005

— Fayetteville's recent annexation may be a problem for those who need 911 for emergencies.

Debbie Renaud did not know her granddaughter's strength. The 6-month-old tugged on a TV set, which fell and hit her in the head.

"The whole TV just like swooshed at her," Renaud said.

Alicia Sims, the baby's mother, called Fayetteville 911.

"I blame myself, I mean, I shouldn't have had to call 911. It was a preventable accident and should have never happened," she said.

As much as 45 minutes went by, and paramedics failed to show up.

"Someone could have died that night. She could have been paralyzed because I did do something wrong," Renaud said.

After five or six calls, Renaud and her daughter took matters into their own hands. They called the closest fire station directly.

"He emptied the firehouse for us, and they were here in two and half minutes," Renaud said.

Firefighters said they would have been there sooner, but they never got the call. Officials blame Fayetteville's recent annexation for the confusion. When the city annexed Renaud's neighborhood, it should have linked her address with the 911 system, but it did not.

When dispatchers got the call, they just did not know where the house was. Dispatchers admit they messed up and they say they are working out the kinks to avoid similar problems.

"The addresses and phone numbers of the people to be annexed was checked and rechecked and double-checked again. Hopefully, this is an isolated incident," said Jamie Smith, a representative with the Fayetteville Police Department.

As for the baby, she is home from the hospital and doing well.

"I'm very grateful and I'm very lucky that something more serious didn't happen to her," Sims said.

Renaud said her problem is fixed and she is in the 911 computer.

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