Courtenay 911 caller says it took too long to report house fire


WATCH: Carrie Crozier called 911 to report a house fire near Courtenay Saturday but says there seemed to be confusion from dispatchers about where the fire was.

Carrie Crozier called 911 Saturday evening when she noticed her neighbour’s house on Salsbury Road near Courtenay quickly being engulfed in flames.

“I was terrified and so frustrated that it took so long and I had to repeat myself so many times,” said Crozier.

But she says there seemed to be confusion on the other end of the line that could have led to delays in dispatching the Courtenay Fire Department.

“I was transferred three times with 911 so it took a long time and even by the third transfer, they were still asking me what city I was in,” added Crozier.

Most 911 calls made from Vancouver Island outside Greater Victoria go through E-Comm in Vancouver before being redirected to police, fire or ambulance back on Vancouver Island.

It usually takes a matter of seconds but Crozier says it took much longer than that.

“And after five or 10 minutes I was finally hanging up from that,” she said.

North Island 911 Corporation says it’s looking into the response to Saturday evening’s call.

“We do take it seriously,” said President Larry Samson. “If there was a problem we want to identify it and if there wasn’t a problem we want to make sure that we relay this to yourselves and to people how had concerns so that they can be assured that they are getting quality service.”

Samson says E-Comm and the fire dispatch centre in Campbell River adhere to strict North American guidelines where in most cases emergency services must be dispatched within 60 seconds of the original 911 call.

Courtenay firefighters knocked the flames down within minutes of their arrival Saturday, but the extensive damage had already been done.

There were people inside the home at the time but they managed to escape unhurt.

Dean StoltzDean Stoltz

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