As authorities in two D.C.-area counties investigate a flawed emergency response to a June drowning, new documents show the 911 center in Montgomery County had an automatically generated map that showed precisely where the call for help had come from.
Emergency dispatchers in Maryland sent firefighters to the Potomac River after a teen called to say her friend had slipped underwater while the group was swimming in a “river.” The caller went on to say her group had been in an “inlet” off the river and that they were in Virginia.
It took 36 minutes for rescuers to reach the teen, 16-year-old Fitz Thomas, who by then had been pulled to a dock by his friends and a passerby who stepped in to help. Fitz, who was preparing to enter his senior year of high school, died. Emergency centers have long been faced with the challenge of responding to 911 cellphone callers who may not be able to provide a precise address or may be in an open space such as a park or along a highway.