Firefighters paged, but don't receive message -, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Firefighters paged, but don't receive message

February 21, 2006

Parrott - Firefighters in Parrott were paged about the fire, but that page never made it through. Now, the Mayor and the fire victims are trying to figure out what went wrong and what can be done to prevent the same kind of break-down in the future.

Very little remains of the home where Shebreka Duck, her son and grandmother once lived. Shebreka says, "We had left some peas on the stove and me and my baby we went outside, cleaning the back yard. We left the front door open and I saw a lot of smoke coming out. I was like, where's this smoke coming from?"

When she went back inside, she found the peas burning, her grandmother asleep. Shebreka tried, without success, to put the fire out herself. A neighbor called 911. Then, they waited.

"Dawson ain't but a 10-15 minute drive from here," says Shebreka. "Can't nobody understand why it took so long for the fire department to get here, cause when we called, the fire hadn't even spread, it was still in the kitchen."

It took so long, because the page that was sent out to Volunteer firefighters in Parrott, never made it through. Mayor Ed Wade says, "From what they can tell me, the page didn't go through on the page."

Terrell County volunteers were also paged, but the station is about 15 minutes South of the location of the fire, and by the time they arrived, the house was destroyed.

Mayor Wade says, "Well, it's very unfortunate. I wish I wasn't out of town, and my wife is a firefighter and she was out of town. I had an uncle pass away, and we were at the funeral when we got the call."

In addition to Mayor Ed Wade and his wife being out of town, so was Fire Chief Jim Pritchard, 30 Percent of the entire force. They've had problems with the paging system previously and hope to fix it fast, so a similar incident doesn't happen again.

Wade says, "We will be purchasing some new radios for some of the additional firemen, where we can pick up that."

And Shebreka and her family will begin picking up the pieces. They lost everything they owned, including two cars in the fire. They do have insurance, but they're not sure how much it will cover.

A new grant from homeland security will help buy new uniforms, radios, and equipment for the Parrott Volunteer Fire department.