When I heard about this delay time, I've always wondered.
It's the question I've asked.
Why did he die?
-- MICHELLE --
THE BROTHER OF A FIRE VICTIM SPEAKS OUT AFTER NEWS
3 UNCOVERS EVIDENCE SHOWING IT TOOK THE 9-1-1 CENTER
NEARLY FOUR MINUTES TO SEND HELP TO BATTLE THE FLAMES.
-- MICHELLE --
CHRIS WILLIAMS DIED LAST OCTOBER IN THE FIRE AT THE
RIVERWOOD APARTMENTS ON MADISON'S NORTH EAST SIDE.
THE CAUSE OF THE FIRE REMAINS UNKNOWN.
-- ERIC --
ALSO UNKNOWN IS A FULL EXPLANATION ABOUT WHY IT TOOK
SO LONG FOR THE DANE COUNTY 911 SYSTEM TO SEND FIREFIGHTERS
TO THE SCENE.
NEWS 3 INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER ADAM SCHRAGER ASKED
-- ADAM --
WE SPOKE TODAY WITH THE HEAD OF THE DANE COUNTY 911
JOHN DEJUNG CAN ACCOUNT FOR ABOUT A MINUTE AND A HALF
OF THE THREE MINUTE 48-SECOND DELAY TO SEND MADISON
FIREFIGHTERS TO THE SCENE.
IN THE COURSE OF REPORTING THIS STORY, WE FOUND OUT
WE ARE NOT THE ONLY ONES LOOKING FOR ANSWERS.
WHO KEEP COMING UP EMPTY.
He cared for people.
He cared about other people...
CHRIS WILLIAMS SPENT THE LAST HALF HOUR OF HIS LIFE
TRYING TO GET HIS NEIGHBORS TO CALL THEIR SENATOR
TO COMPLAIN ABOUT THE FEDERAL BUDGET.
He was very active in his own way in the community...
HE DIDN'T KNOW HIS CALL FOR HELP WOULD SOON GO UNANSWERED.
I'm grateful to the fire department for showing up
and trying to save my brother, but I find it completely
inexcusable that they couldn't get into that building.
JIM WILLIAMS WATCHED HIS BIG BROTHER'S MADISON APARTMENT
BURN LAST OCTOBER.
HOW IT STARTED IN HIS UNIT REMAINS UNKNOWN..
It's a horrific way to go.
I cannot think of a worse way to go...
FIREFIGHTERS FOUND CHRIS WITHOUT A PULSE.
COLLAPSED AT HIS FRONT DOOR.
Why'd he die? The doors were unlocked.
He was awake and he was on his way out.
JIM'S QUESTIONS--ONCE PHILOSOPHICAL IN NATURE--ARE
911 What is the address of the emergency? 6425 Bridge
AUDIO RECORDINGS SHOW THE FIRST CALL TO 911 COMING
FROM CHRIS'S NEXT DOOR NEIGHBOR...
audio of call
CHRIS'S NEIGHBOR SAYS HE DOESN'T REMEMBER HEARING
CHRIS SCREAM FOR HELP.
BUT THAT HE WAS STANDING OUTSIDE HIS DOOR WHEN HE
My partner is going to get some help sent out there...
BUT WHAT THE 911 OPERATOR PROMISED DIDN'T HAPPEN JUST
MORE THAN A DOZEN MORE PEOPLE CALLED 911 TO REPORT
WONDERING WHEN HELP WOULD COME.
I don't see anybody here yet.
Where the hell are they?
THREE MINUTES AND 48 SECONDS LATER, FIRE CREWS WERE
IT TOOK MORE THAN TWO MINUTES LONGER THAN THE NATIONAL
STANDARD SET FOR FIREFIGHTERS TO BE SENT TO EMERGENCIES.
I'm sorry that we couldn't be there sooner.
That our opportunity to do what we need to do was
LANCE LANGER RUNS OPERATIONS FOR THE MADISON FIRE
HE'S WONDERED JUST LIKE JIM WILLIAMS WHETHER CHRIS
COULD HAVE BEEN SAVED IF FIREFIGHTERS HAD BEEN SENT
THREE MINUTES AND 48 SECONDS EARLIER.
AFTER ALL, CHRIS WILLIAMS WAS AT HIS FRONT DOOR.
All I can say is, had we been notified earlier and
moved the clock back, we probably would have increased
THE SITUATION SO ANGERED LANGER HE COMPLAINED ABOUT
THE DELAY WITH THE 911 CENTER MANAGEMENT.
RIGHT AFTER THE FIRE IN OCTOBER, 2013.
ALMOST EIGHT MONTHS AGO.
AND HE'S FOLLOWED UP SINCE.
AJS: You filed a complaint about this, right?
LL: I did.
I filed a formal complaint with their operations manager.
AJS: What happened?
LL: We have not gotten an official response.
LANGER'S SITUATION IS NOT AN ISOLATED ONE.
NEWS 3 HAS OBTAINED THE LIST OF 157 FORMAL COMPLAINTS
MADE BY THE MADISON FIRE DEPARTMENT AND THE MADISON
POLICE DEPARTMENT TO 911 CENTER MANAGEMENT OVER THE
COMPLAINTS ABOUT THINGS LIKE SLOW DISPATCH TIMES AND
BEING SENT THE TO THE WRONG ADDRESSES OF EMERGENCIES.
OF THOSE 157 COMPLAINTS, DOZENS REMAIN UNANSWERED.
AJS: What does it say to you when an Assistant Fire
Chief asks the 911 Center management about a fatality
and you don't get a response.
3635 LL: I don't know.
What I can tell you is we're not giving up.
It was not investigated to my satisfaction and I believe
it's because we didn't believe it was a complaint.
We weren't aware it was a complaint.
911 CENTER DIRECTOR JOHN DEJUNG SAYS IT'S FAIR TO
ASK QUESTIONS ABOUT A 3-MINUTE 48-SECOND DELAY TO
The processing time took longer than it should have,
much longer than we're happy with.
HE SAYS IT HAPPENED BECAUSE THE 911 COMPUTERS TWICE
TRIED TO ASSIGN MONONA FIREFIGHTERS TO THE SCENE INSTEAD
OF THEIR MADISON COUNTERPARTS.
THAT TOOK A MINUTE AND A HALF AND HIS STAFF HAS GONE
THROUGH TRAINING TO HELP PREVENT THAT IN THE FUTURE.
BUT THERE'S STILL TWO-PLUS MINUTES UNACCOUNTED FOR.
AND DEJUNG DOESN'T KNOW WHAT HAPPENED AND WHY.
There are times when mistakes are made and we try
to learn from these.
We do take action to make the system even more confidence
Chris Williams expected more.
Chris Williams deserved more.
And we got to make sure there's not another Chris
AJS: Does the next Chris Williams get saved? I mean,
can this happen again?
LL: I think it can happen again...
IT'S BEEN SAID THAT A PERSON DOESN'T DIE WHEN THEY
DRAW THEIR LAST BREATH.
RATHER, THEY DIE WHEN SOMEONE SAYS THEIR NAME FOR
A LAST TIME.
shaking head Just not right...
JIM WILLIAMS WON'T LET THAT HAPPEN TO HIS BROTHER,
It's not just a simple he died.
It's not that simple.
There are a lot of questions that aren't answered.
-- ADAM --
WITHIN THE LAST FEW MONTHS, 911 OPERATORS ARE ALLOWED
TO PRE-ALERT DISPATCHERS IN CASES OF FIRES, TO GET
CREWS GOING FASTER.
DEJUNG SAID THAT COULD HAVE HELPED IN THIS CASE.
HE ALSO SAID IF GIVEN THE CHANCE, HE'D SAY HE WAS
SORRY TO CHRIS WILLIAMS'S FAMILY.
THAT HE QUOTE WISHES IT WOULDN'T HAVE HAPPENED.
-- ERIC --