Desperate calls to save those trapped by fire, but emergency alert system failed many

  • Source: Los Angeles Times
  • Published: 10/12/2017 12:00 AM

The distress calls crackled over the Napa County sheriff’s dispatch radio in a rapid staccato late Sunday as flames sped toward residents on Atlas Peak Road. “Parents trapped in garage,” an officer called in to the central dispatcher. Then: “The fire is moving quickly through here.” Two minutes later, the dispatcher sent someone to another house on the same road: “Two people trapped.” A minute passed, then a call to still another house: “An elderly lady trapped.” The dispatcher sent out an all-points request to send “any units in the area,” then made a chilling plea: “Two people called, advising their house is on fire, and they need help evacuating.” Over the radio, officers in the field reported propane tanks exploding throughout the neighborhood, which would soon lay in ruins.



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