HANOVER TOWNSHIP – A Luzerne County councilman is calling for an independent investigation into the operations and training at the 911 center, following a botched dispatch during a house fire that turned deadly last month.
Edd Brominski told Newswatch 16 that one Luzerne County employee has been fired and another has returned to work, after firefighters were dispatched to the wrong community for a reported house fire.
Authorities said Michelle Dzoch died in a fire on Main Street in Mocanaqua, which was sparked by children playing with a lighter.
Mike Lapinski told Newswatch 16 that he saw the fire last month from his nearby yard sale and he was surprised when firefighters did not immediately respond from the fire hall down the street.
“Everybody was wondering, but now we all know what happened. So you can’t really blame the fire department,” said Lapinski. “The whistle never went off.”
Some people who live in Mocanaqua said they were surprised to hear that someone was fired over the incident.
“I can understand him being corrected or reprimanded a little bit, but being fired is kind of going overboard,” said Harold Moss.
The president of the Hanover Township Crime Watch said she calls 911 with tips frequently, and said dispatchers have a thankless job.
“The amount of calls that they get is insane,” said Darlene Davis. “I don’t think it’s easy to blame one person. Maybe the whole system needs to be looked at. They may need more help. They may need more updated maps.”
The head of the Luzerne County 911 and a union representative said they could not comment on the discipline or botched dispatch last month.