Controversy in Scott Co. after fire department wasn't called to - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Controversy in Scott Co. after fire department wasn't called to nearby crash

SCOTT COUNTY, MO (KFVS) -

It's a question some Scott County taxpayers are asking just two days after a car versus train crash killed a man just three miles from a Scott County Rural Fire Station: Why weren't those responders on scene?

“We will respond to all motor vehicle accidents. We do have extradition equipment. We do have fire suppression. We have everything that we need,” Scott County Rural Fire Department Chief Jeremy Perrien said.

In these situations, sometimes seconds are a matter of life and death. Chief Perrien said 911 dispatchers should have called them to that scene, but dispatchers stand by their decision not to.

Thursday morning, Chief Perrien posted to the department's Facebook page responding to questions from Scott County residents. He explains they weren't on scene of that deadly accident because they simply didn't know about it.

While he calls that a mistake, the dispatcher who handled the call says he followed protocol.

“Why weren't we called?” Chief Perrien said.

Chief Perrien said when emergencies happen in his district, he's usually the first to know, but not this time.

“We were at a station that was three miles down the road from that accident and never knew anything about it,” Chief Perrien said.

That's because 911 dispatchers called out emergency crews from Sikeston to respond to the car and train crash between Vanduser and Morley. Scott County Rural has a station is both towns.

Perrien said they're both about three or four minutes from the crash.

“Sikeston is a good 10 to 12 miles away from the scene,” Chief Perrien said.

Chief Perrien said his crews have the same training as emergency workers from Sikeston and volunteers are at the stations almost all day.

The dispatcher who took the call says there's an explanation for his decision that follows protocol. He says, at first, communications was given the wrong address, an address that was in Sikeston's District, not Scott County Rural's. However, it turned out to be the wrong location, so the same crew went to the actual scene on County Road 432. The dispatcher said they didn't call Scott County because, by that time, Sikeston was already there.

Still, Perrien said, the more hands on deck, the better.

“I think it was a serious call and they got a rescue squad going. They didn't think about where they were coming from or the other resources,” Chief Perrien said.

The question now is what's the next step? Perrien said he's planning a public meeting with leaders of all fire departments in Scott County along with 911 dispatchers so things like this don't happen again.

However, still, dispatchers say they weren't at fault.

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