Police are conducting an internal investigation after a firefighter and paramedic in Washington, D.C., waited more than 20 minutes for help while being threatened with a knife.
The pair made repeated calls to the city’s 911 dispatch pleading for immediate help from officers in the area. Officials with the D.C. Fire and EMS Department were sent to an apartment complex after reports of a person suffering from a possible heart attack on 59th Street, Northeast at roughly 2:44 a.m. Thursday. After arriving on scene, the firefighter made the first of six 911 calls, requesting assistance with a knife-wielding woman, reports NBC Washington.
For more than 20 minutes, the firefighter called 911 repeatedly while witnesses say the paramedic wrestled to get the knife out of the woman’s hands.
“We need them here, now!” the firefighter told the dispatch officer during his fifth 911 call for help.
The firefighter finally made headway with the officer on dispatch when he called for a sixth time. In the final call, the firefighter gave the code 1033, which means a firefighter’s life is in danger, after the dispatcher said supervisors advised officers to steer clear of the area. That prompted police to finally respond with units.
“Okay, well tell the supervisor she has a knife,” the firefighter told 911 dispatch, according to NBC4. “She’s threatened to kill us and herself. 1033.”
Officers with the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) eventually responded and arrested the woman for assaulting members of D.C. Fire and EMS. Interim Police Chief Peter Newsham said officers were told to avoid the apartment complex after receiving 13 false alarm calls over 13 hours from the woman who assaulted first responders, reports WTOP.
The MPD are conducting an internal investigation of the incident.
“The fire department clearly needed some assistance, and that information wasn’t clearly communicated to the officer in the field,” Newsham told WTOP. “We’re going to see where the communication breakdown occurred.”
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