Miami Beach Police investigate fire rescue delay
MIAMI BEACH, Fla. (WSVN) -- A South Florida police official said his department is conducting a comprehensive investigation into what caused a fire rescue truck to take over a half hour in response to a 911 call that ended with the death of a 65-year-old man.
"We want to make sure that the public understands that we're doing everything in our power to make sure that there's no repeating this incident, even though it was an isolated incident," said Miami Beach Police Deputy Chief Mark Overton. He is addressing the March 5 incident in which a Miami Beach Fire Rescue unit took 31 minutes to respond to a 911 call concerning a man suffering from Crohn's Disease and diabetes who had fallen inside his Venetian Islands residence. By the time paramedics arrived on the scene, he had passed away.
Overton revealed a dispatcher was relieved of duty with pay following the incident. "Yes, there has been a fire dispatcher relieved of duty," he indicated. If an employee is the subject of an internal affairs investigation, this is a standard procedure.
The official reiterated that the efficiency of the fire rescue department remains their main concern as they continue their investigation. "We want to assure the public that we are doing everything in our power to ensure the reliability of the 911 system," he said.
Overton's comments are the first to come from one of the top Miami Beach officials who are handling the investigation. "We are conducting a full internal affairs investigation of the incident, and once those facts are completed, we will present them to the public," he continued.
The deputy chief also commented that the City of Miami Beach's response time remains one of the fastest in the nation. "For the last three years, we have had a response in the 90 percentile [within zero to 5 minutes], since 2010," he said. "We've done the research on it, so this is out of the ordinary for us."
One of the issues raised by this case is the distance between Miami Beach Fire Rescue headquarters and the victim's address, which is only several miles. Two 7News reporters drove the truck's route and averaged around 9 minutes. Overton said this matter will be addressed when investigators reveal their findings. "We're going to reveal all the facts of this investigation as soon as we complete it," he said.
Officials said they expect to wrap up their investigation as early as next week.
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