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Vonage Puts VoIP 911 Caller on Hold 464 464

kamikaze-Tech writes "It is being reported on the Vonage Forums that last month when Loren Veltkamp's Chanhassen, Minnesota home caught on fire, he immediately called 9-1-1 using Vonage. Unfortunately, Vonage put him on hold, causing a delay in the response from emergency workers. By the time fire crews arrived, the fire had become a five-alarm blaze. The house was a total loss."
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Vonage Puts VoIP 911 Caller on Hold

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  • Dupe "Article" (Score:5, Informative)

    by TheComputerMutt.ca (907022) * <jeremybanks@jeremybanks.ca> on Thursday March 23, 2006 @07:37PM (#14984400) Homepage Journal
    This "article" is a duplicate thread on the Vonage Forum. The original thread [vonage-forum.com] has much more information.
    • Re:Dupe "Article" (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) * <seebert42@gmail.com> on Thursday March 23, 2006 @07:46PM (#14984449) Homepage Journal
      If the poster had read a bit further, he would have found out This isn't a new story [vonage-forum.com] (same link as parent, but I had written this in notepad while wating for the story to come out of the mysterious future) AND the guy involved was a bit of an idiot who wouldn't know a five alarm fire from a small fire he could rescue a computer from. He probably caused more delay in the attempt to rescue his house by leading the police on a chase from front door, through kitchen, to basement and out a window than the delay caused by Vonage National 911 putting him on hold.

      Anybody who only has Vonage without some form of backup line (either a bare bones land line or a cell phone) is a bit of a moron anyway- what would he have done if a candle lit the drapes on fire during a power outage?
      • Re:Dupe "Article" (Score:3, Interesting)

        by eln (21727)
        I agree. I use only cell phones for day to day calling, but I still have a basic land line hooked up, and a cheap $10 phone that doesn't require power in the closet in case of emergencies. I've had plenty of times during storms where the power went out and the phone lines still worked.
      • Re:Dupe "Article" (Score:4, Insightful)

        by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland@yRASPahoo.com minus berry> on Thursday March 23, 2006 @08:00PM (#14984542) Homepage Journal
        Actually, it is common for someone to be in a fire, and underestimate the danger becasue some of the chemicals in the air make it so you can not smell the smoke.

        When my mothers house caught on fire, She was sure she was fine to go back in, went in to get her keys so she could moce her car, coming back out they dragged her away. SHe kept saying it wasn't a big deal.

        They dashboard in her car was melting.

        My mother is not a moron. SHe's gt problems, but she is smart.
        My point is, don't judge this guy based on this incident, many people feel they are 'safe enough' in a fire, when they are not.
        • Re:Dupe "Article" (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) * <seebert42@gmail.com> on Thursday March 23, 2006 @08:15PM (#14984631) Homepage Journal
          My point was that a true five-alarmer would generate so much excess heat that NOBODY would have been able to enter the house. Let alone TWICE (first to get his computer, second to lead the police on a stupid chase). There's something that stinks about this story- and being put on hold by "Vonage" is the least of it.
        • by Unknown Poltroon (31628) * <unknown_poltroon1sp@myahoo.com> on Thursday March 23, 2006 @09:06PM (#14984879)
          If you are ever woken up by the smell of smoke/fire in your house, you have just about three minutes to get out before you die. Basicly, the amount of smoke and gasses in the air that are enough to wake you up are jsut slightly les then it takes to kill you.

          Also, a tiny fire can turn life threatening in jsut a couple of minutes. Fire is not somehitn to be fucked with.
          • I really hate to disappoint you, but the smoke and gasses WILL NOT WAKE YOU.

            They put you into a deeper sleep, while removing all the oxygen from the air.

            Then you die. Not from the flames. From not having oxygen.

            At least that's what they taught me at paramedic school.

            Get yourself a smoke alarm for every bedroom. It might save your life one day.
          • IF you are waken up.

            A large portion of the people who die in fires die sleeping in their beds, never waking at all.

            Get a smoke-alarm. It's not perfect, but it's a hell of a lot of an improvement.

        • by garylian (870843) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @11:19PM (#14985498)
          Actually, speaking as a former firefighter, it isn't common for folks to misunderstand how dangerous a fire can be. Most folks freak completely out. They panic, and make mistakes they should know better than to do.

          Small grease fires take out a whole kitched because the panicked homeowner throws water on it, instead of something like flour.

          It's simple Fight or Flight syndrome. Most folks run for it (flight), but without applying a thought process to what they are doing. Those that try to deal (fight) with it aren't usually trained to deal with it properly. Sometimes even those that ARE trained get caught by something they didn't expect.

          Fires are nothing to mess around with. Those that have a healthy respect for them can deal with it once they are properly trained. Those that don't, tend to die, even with training. Just check out the number of firefighters that die each year due to really dumb things like buildings falling on them.

          Most firefighter deaths (that aren't due to traffic accidents or heart attacks) were completely preventable. There's usually a cover-up, for the officers in charge, all the way down to even the victim's themselves. Nobody wants to tarnish a hero's legacy, even if said "hero" had their head up their ass and was in a place they should have known better than to be, or was doing something they shouldn't have done. The public doesn't end up knowing, but most of it ends up getting caught on tape by some bystander, and then the government ends up buying the tape rights so that it doesn't get on the 11 o'clock news. Then, they show it as training video, and tell us "See, these guys are dumbfucks, and so is their commanding officer". And yet, more than half the class would still make the same mistake.
          • PARENT IS A TROLL (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Lehk228 (705449)
            a real firefighter would never suggest throwing flour onto a fire, flour explodes when thrown into flame
            • Re:PARENT IS A TROLL (Score:3, Informative)

              by Anonymous Coward
              It doesn't exactly explode, especially if poured instead of thrown. For a grease fire, the flour will congeal on the top of the grease and help cutoff the air supply (go look up saponification - that's how the dry chem extinguishers work on grease fires). Problem is that you need a lot of flour to cover the whole burning surface and you risk getting burned trying it. It's better to simply put the lid on the pot. Here's some real advice from a fire department. http://www.casperfire.com/fire_prevention/ [casperfire.com]
            • Re:PARENT IS A TROLL (Score:3, Informative)

              by ivan256 (17499) *
              Flour, like most things that explode due to combustion, is only explosive if mixed with of oxygen in a narrow range of concentration. A big handful of flour won't explode. You should be glad that it won't or kitchens with gas stoves would be blowing up every time somebody made a cream sauce.
          • Yeah, throwing flour on a grease fire. That is the most stupid thing I think a real fire fighter could say. Powdered flour is extremely explosive. If it's really grainy it would work, if there is any fine flour in there though you'll get a nice flash fire that would spread it around the room. The stupidity almost is up there with throwing coffee creamer on a fire. Use baking soda or a fire extinguisher.
    • by HardCase (14757) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @07:47PM (#14984459)
      Both look about the same to me:

      A communication error occurred: "Operation timed out"
      The Web Server may be down, too busy, or experiencing other problems preventing it from responding to requests. You may wish to try again at a later time.
    • Not only does the original thread (http://www.vonage-forum.com/ftopic11631.html [vonage-forum.com]) have more information, as you say, but the originator later makes the telling comment "Got the story off of a news channel 5 website....So they can make things out to be a little more dramatic than it actually is...."

      On the one hand the house "burnt down", on the other hand the owner could wander around it rescuing his computer, etc.

  • Nothing to see here (Score:5, Informative)

    by michaelhood (667393) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @07:37PM (#14984401)
    This is no different than the 911 service on PSTN (regular phone service).

    I've been put on hold at least 50-60% of the time I've called.

    They're understaffed.
    • by mtenhagen (450608) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @07:39PM (#14984412) Homepage
      And how many times did you call? 2 times and you where put on hold 50%-60%?

      Or did you make enough calls to 911 to make it statiscly relevant? If so you where put on hold while they send out the police to arrest you!
      • Oh my god I cant write anymore. I must call someone ;-)
      • by technothrasher (689062) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @09:05PM (#14984875)
        Or did you make enough calls to 911 to make it statiscly relevant? If so you where put on hold while they send out the police to arrest you!


        Well, I don't know the original posters situation but I used to live by a dangerous intersection and called 911 at least once every couple weeks or so to report yet another accident in front of my house. So you can actually have a situation where you make a lot of 911 calls and still not be abusing the system.

        BTW, I was never put on hold.

        • by hawk (1151) <hawk@eyry.org> on Thursday March 23, 2006 @11:14PM (#14985481) Journal
          I've called 911 more times than I'd like to admit, but I will anwayy

          1988 or so, San Diego: "A car just flipped, spun 720 degrees, bouncing off the concrete barrier 3 times."
          "Was anyone hurt?"

          1990, Las Vegas: The dumpster behind my office is on fire!
          "Where are you?"
          "It doesn't show on your systems?"
          "No,not here."

          2002 or so, Pennsylvania: child drank "yucky water." handled reasonably.

          Last year, Pennsylvania: barely & pre-teens camping in the yard, some moron terrorizing them. Well handled.

          Last week: one of my students, in a contest to see who could jump the fartherest from the swing . . .

          And there are a couyple more that don't come right to mind.

          I've never been put on hold, though . . .

          hawk
    • I've been put on hold at least 50-60% of the time I've called.

      Were you first asked "is this an emergency?" That used to be the standard when I was involved in fielding emergency calls. If you said "yes," then you weren't put on hold.

      A large number of calls to the usual 911 call center are probably non-emergency (barking dogs, illegal parking, etc.).

      If the answer is "hell, no," then what area are you calling from? I call 911 a few times a year (usually to report a stalled car on the freeway) and I

      • Were you first asked "is this an emergency?" That used to be the standard when I was involved in fielding emergency calls. If you said "yes," then you weren't put on hold.

        I had to call a couple of weeks ago about a suspected (and thankfully non-existant) chimney fire (turned out to be a piece of newspaper went up the flue and got caught in the spark trap at the top of the chimney- made for a nice bit of harmless fireworks spotted by a passing car, who notified me). I was put on hold without anybody aski
      • "a stalled car on the freeway"

        You should have phoned Team America : World Police for that

        911 is for when the tv breaks down or there are some squirrels fighting on your lawn [bbc.co.uk]

    • This is no different than the 911 service on PSTN (regular phone service).

      I have never been put on hold by 911 and this is a number I have had to dial more often than I care to think about. Chronic illness in the family. Fire and accidents.

    • Understaffed? oh you dont even know the half of it. I was on a dept up in VT and the dispatching agency that also handled our 911 calls staffed one dispatcher per shift. They handled 18 different agencies, and answered 911 calls for 8 towns.
    • by woolio (927141) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @08:33PM (#14984715) Journal
      I've been put on hold at least 50-60% of the time I've called.

      I'm not sure which is more disturbing -- that you were put on hold or that you have called enough times to be able to establish these percentages...
      • by rob1980 (941751) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @09:38PM (#14985026)
        Not really disturbing - I worked at ADT for a couple months awhile back and I could have established these kinds of percentages easily within a week if I was taking notes. And it wouldn't be for one city, it would have been across the entire nation. I think the longest I was ever on hold was 15 minutes for the LAPD.
    • They usually put you on hold while they trace the call. They are understaffed to handle the number of illegitimate calls they receive.
    • At least you got to talk to someone. I called 911 on my cell phone because i hit a dining room table(LA freeways have weirdest stuff that i assume falls off the back of pickup trucks) on the freeway and i got a voice mail system telling me to leave the details of emergency after the beep.
      • All of the E911 call centers that I have seen automatically pull the phone number and address when the call comes in. There's no need to trace anything (or manually initiate a trace).
  • Why VoIP? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by networkBoy (774728) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @07:38PM (#14984402) Homepage Journal
    Was this his only phone?
    Any reason he didn't have access to another phone?
    Traditionally you exit your burning house ASAP and call from a house next door...
    -nB
    • Re:Why VoIP? (Score:3, Informative)

      by Phurd Phlegm (241627)

      Was this his only phone?

      Any reason he didn't have access to another phone?

      Traditionally you exit your burning house ASAP and call from a house next door...

      Here's the local TV station's report [kstp.com]. They don't say so, but I assume that his only phone service was VOIP. As for running next door, I assume he figured it would be quicker to report if he played the percentages and didn't hang up to try again. According to the report, he was arrested for repeatedly reentering the house to save his computers.

      • "According to the report, he was arrested for repeatedly reentering the house to save his computers"

        And thus the cop should be shot for preventing a darwin award winner.
        -nB
      • According to the report, he was arrested for repeatedly reentering the house to save his computers.
        Ahh... A true geek.
    • Re:Why VoIP? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Bacon Bits (926911) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @08:01PM (#14984548)
      Irrelevant. FCC regulations require service providers to connect any 911 emergency calls. That's why you can [supposedly] connect a phone to a jack with no service and dial 911, or use a cell phone that has no account and dial 911. It is Vonage's responsibility to see that this happens each time every time. There is no burden on the consumer for this one. If Vonage doesn't like it, they can choose not to be in the telcom business in the US.

      Now, some of the reports I've read do say that Vonage connected him, but that the operators put him on hold. In that case, Vonage is not to blame as they met the requirments of law.
      • One of my biggest peaves with the whole VoIP 911 nonsense is that Vonage is simply trying to comply with the FCC regs, yet all (there are only a few left right?) the legacy telcos are spreading FUD about this like you don't see news stories about people calling 911 and getting disconnected or hung up on if they have Verizon. I have called 911 from a cell and had to be trasferred because the cell carrier needed to connect me with the State Police instead of the local cops nearest to the cell tower, or at lea
      • Re:Why VoIP? (Score:5, Informative)

        by frinkster (149158) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @08:53PM (#14984827)
        Irrelevant. FCC regulations require service providers to connect any 911 emergency calls. That's why you can [supposedly] connect a phone to a jack with no service and dial 911, or use a cell phone that has no account and dial 911. It is Vonage's responsibility to see that this happens each time every time. There is no burden on the consumer for this one. If Vonage doesn't like it, they can choose not to be in the telcom business in the US.

        I work in the cell phone infrastructure business. It's not really FCC regulations that make it so, it's a requirement of the various cell phone technologies.

        A cell phone recognizes 911 (and the other emergency numbers used around the world) as an emergency call, picks the closest tower and requests an emergency call. It's a different process than making a normal call and bypasses nearly all of the steps involved with making a call (including such things as authentication, determining if you are allowed access, if you are roaming or local, if you should be billed, and a host of other steps). If there is no capacity, the base station will disconnect a paying call to make room. Whether you have a SIM card in the phone or even an active account is irrelevant to the whole process.

        When we test new systems and major software upgrades, we attempt emergency calls first. Not really because we want to make sure they work, it's because it's a lot easier to set one up!
    • So it's important to make sure your neighbor has a top line service.

      It's all shits and giggles, folks.
    • Re:Why VoIP? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by westlake (615356) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @08:21PM (#14984656)
      Traditionally you exit your burning house ASAP and call from a house next door...

      "Next door" to my father's place is the farmhouse a mile down the road. "Next door" assumes you are in a condition to walk or drive. That your judgement is not impaired.

      I have vivid memories still of my one and only experience with carbon monoxide poisoning.

  • Amazing (Score:5, Funny)

    by ackthpt (218170) * on Thursday March 23, 2006 @07:38PM (#14984406) Homepage Journal

    They claim to be associating establishing a physical location with each E911, at so many counties per week. Yet someone on the blog points out in Ohio they're moving at a snail's pace and only in 4 rural counties. Sounds like my office, let's process ~1,500 applications, which average about 30 minutes each, by one person, who is being phased out due to lack of work. It done be amazing.

    "please click on 1 if you have just seen bigfoot, click on 2 if a wolf has lept through your living room window, click 3 if you believe CowboyNeal is lurking under your bed, click 4 if you laughed so hard at the last South Park that you are choking on a cheezy poof, click 5 if you are so offended by the last South Park you are choking on a cheezy poof, click 6 if you think The Lakers is a stupid name for a team that moved from Minnesota to Los Angeles where there are no lakes, click 7 if your house is on fire and your children have flown, click 8 if you are suffering a medical emergency, click 9 if you are "dying zerelda, dying zerelda, die, die, die, die, die, die!!!" or stay on the line and listen to some light jazz until your connection is mysteriously dropped."

  • by Splork (13498) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @07:41PM (#14984426) Homepage
    try calling 911 on a POTS line or cell phone in any major city and see for yourself.
  • by robpoe (578975)
    I'm a Vonage customer and couldn't be more happy.

    I've never experienced a loss or major call quality, even when my ISP hits 250-350ms ping (as they sometimes do!).

    Though, I've never call 911 from it .. and I think I'd use my cell for that...

  • on hold (Score:5, Funny)

    by gnuguru (301000) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @07:42PM (#14984433) Journal
    Tried to follow the link in the story, but the server put me on hold....
    • Tried to follow the link in the story, but the server put me on hold....

      And by the time you get to it, the server's gonna be a complete mess :P
  • by SuperBanana (662181) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @07:44PM (#14984444)

    It is being reported on the Vonage Forums that last month when Loren Veltkamp's Chanhassen, Minnesota home caught on fire, he immediately called 9-1-1 using Vonage. Unfortunately, Vonage put him on hold,

    Next at 6: Slashdot links to Vonage-forum, forum webserver puts thousands on hold and THEN catches fire.

    PS:Houses usually don't "catch" fire, like they're standing around and fire lands on them out of the blue. How'd the guy's house actually catch fire? Why didn't he have an extinguisher? Why didn't he hang up the phone and DIAL AGAIN?

    PPS:The above is half serious and half spoofing the typical "apologist" line.

  • I have had Vonage for well over a year, but have never dialed 911.

    It is my understanding you are routed to your local PSAP.
    • I just dialed 911 to verify it is working correctly. It connected directly to my local PSAP and they had all of the correct information about my address.

      No on hold with Vonage for me.
  • not suprising. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 23, 2006 @07:49PM (#14984476)
    I live about 6 minutes away from chanhassen, and the last time I called 911 I was put on hold. I called from a cell phone not voip so I'm geussing its just the local emergency services fault.
  • by rice_burners_suck (243660) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @07:52PM (#14984494)
    ...with that annoying music they play, showing people doing stupid things. And then they say, "People do stupid things..."

    I think their new commercial should show a guy getting Vonage and then his house burns down, and then they say, "People do stupid things. Going with Vonage is one of them."

  • by qwave54 (671614) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @07:54PM (#14984508)
    I had to call 911 a few times in the past few years, and every single time I've had nothing but trouble from them. One time when I witnessed a car accident and stayed to help, I called 911 because a woman at the scene had trouble getting out of her car (the door wouldn't open and her legs were pinned). The 911 operator *wouldn't believe* that she needed help and refused to send more than one police car. Luckily he came quickly and called for the proper help. Another time I had to call, I was transfered to the wrong emergency service. I needed the police, but was sent to the fire dept. While the fire operator was talking, the 911 operator interrupted the call and transfered me to the EMS! Again, interrupted and finally I got the police. Other times I've had operators who were rude and unhelpful.
    So Vonage's 911 seems to be at par with the poor level of service given by the other 911 services.
  • Five Alarm?

    Just how big was his house? The Santana Row fire in San Jose was a five alarm fire and that was huge.
    Methinks there's a wee bit of exaggeration going on here.
    • Especially since he was able to go back to rescue his computer full of pirated music....
    • it depends on the department.
      A fice alrm fire in Manhatten may be a bigger fire, then a five alarm fire in a smaller city/town.

      Some departments that would mean Chief, tanker, ladder, all hands medical and help from another dept.

      Some may be an alarm per dept.

      The person on site making the calls may escalate to five alarm if they feel there was a high risk of the fire spreading.

      That said, I do doubt it was a 5 alarm fire for a stand alone single dwelling unit
  • Same Problem in LA (Score:2, Informative)

    by osmodion (716658)
    A few weeks ago I was rear ended. The damage to my car was pretty extensive, so one of my passengers called 911 while I talked to the other driver. He was on hold for well over five minutes. When someone finally answered, he handed the phone to me. I talked for about 4 seconds before being cut off by the operator. The nice version is that if no one was bleeding or dead, she was hanging up to deal with more important calls.

    The call centers are vastly understaffed, which isn't Vonage's fault, so people get
  • This should surprise no one. 911 is not anywhere near as reliable as you think it could or should be. A friend of mine nearly cut off this thumb with a chop saw. He ran into the house, called 911, and .... it was busy. Rather than dick around bleeding (drip, drip), he called the one person he knew he could rely on: his office secretary (three cheers for secretaries!) She called the local ambulance service, they picked up, took him to the hospital, and after a little tendon reattachment surgery and months of rehab, he was good as new. No thanks to 911.
  • Looks more like a candidate for the "huge fucking lawsuit dept".
    • Looks more like a candidate for the "huge fucking lawsuit dept".

      Doubtful. One, vonage didn't put him on hold.. the call center did. Two, the guy was arrested and the police are questioning him about possible arson.

      This is a total non-story. Guy burns down his own house for insurance money and tries to blame his failure to call 911 on vonage.
  • If he had been using the subj. modem device,
    his emergency call might have been put through
    to 911 directly, with Vonage out of the picture.

    The feature is known as "Lifeline"...
  • by MagicDude (727944) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @08:38PM (#14984750)
    Flanders drives into his driveway and Bart panics, pleading with Lisa to leave. Instead she climbs the stairs, but Bart warns her she'll be trapped. He sees Ned looking angry, walking with an ax.

    Bart: [watching Flanders] An ax. He's got an ax! I'll save you, Lisa! [tries to walk on his broken leg, falls back] Uh, I'll save you by calling the police. [dials 911]

    Voice: Hello, and welcome to the Springfield Police Department Resc-u- Fone[tm]. If you know the name of the felony being committed, press one. To choose from a list of felonies, press two. If you are being murdered or calling from a rotary phone, please stay on the line.

    Bart: [growls, punches some numbers]

    Voice: You have selected regicide. If you know the name of the king or queen being murdered, press one.
  • by Ah huh and then (963227) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @08:51PM (#14984816)
    Looks like this person needed someone to blame. First off, this was not a five alarm fire. Thoes are just slightly bigger, usually apartment building or commerical wherehouses. More then one firetruck will arive at a five alarm fire, hense the name. One other kinda fishy thing is
    "by the time fire crews arrived, the fire had become a five-alarm blaze. The house was a total loss."
    which conficts with Veltkamps own statment in the local media:
    "When I was ordered out of the building, I didn't want to comply with that," Veltkamp said. Fire crews convinced him to leave, but he later re-entered the home - followed by police. "They chased me in, saying they were going to taze me if I didn't come out," Veltkamp said. He then ran from police through the house, and escaped out of the basement.
    It probably didn't help that the firecrews had to shoot water over trees at this house either video http://kstp.dayport.com/viewer/viewerpage.php?Art_ ID=165697&NoAds=true [dayport.com] local report http://www.kstp.com/article/stories/S14441.html?ca t=1 [kstp.com]
    • by SmurfButcher Bob (313810) on Friday March 24, 2006 @02:03AM (#14986074) Journal
      I think I read some details on that fire - the fire was through the roof when first-due rolled on-scene. Generally, if the fire has self-vented in all but a few specific types of construction - such a structure is considered a loser unless there are intact firewalls running all the way up to the peak, which is unlikely in a residence. Combine that with truss construction and engineered wood products (and this structure definately had trussing), the structure is automatically a write-off. With truss or engineered wood construction, crews are typically forbidden from entering the structure after 10 minutes of fire unless (1) there is a victim inside, AND (2) there's a prayer of saving them... and even then, we'll honestly consider if it's worth the risk, based on the time that has elapsed. Truss + Fire = 12 minute "roof falls onto you" deathtrap, and EWood + Fire = 4 minute "floor falls under you" deathtrap, period, no exceptions.

      That's why, like you, I'm almost baffled that the police chased this idiot inside - but from the size of the structure in the video, half of the building could be flashing over while at the other end of it, you'd never know it. With a smaller structure, he'd not have gotten two steps into the door and still be able to see, let alone breathe all of the phosgene & methal-ethyl-kills-you shit in the air. Since neither he nor the cops needed rescue, it pretty much demands that "when fire crews arrived" the fire was at one end of the house (the end farthest away from the platform truck, judging by the extent of the burn there), and he was running into the near-end, which wasn't involved (or smoke filled) yet. That the fire vented itself so quickly is probably a major factor as to why the rest of the structure wasn't a lethal atmosphere, as well.

      For your own fun - shooting the water over the trees wasn't really relevent; by the time you use a master stream (such as from the platform in the video) - those things flow anywhere from 1500 to 2500 gallons per minute - it's over.

      Why, you ask?

      One gallon of water weighs 8 pounds. Our truck is rated at 2500 GPM; from a draft, it can (real life) sustain around 2200 GPM; that's 17 thousand, 600 pounds of weight per minute that we're dumping onto the floor of that structure. A typical stream like that will be flowed for up to 5 or 10 minutes, since you're trying to suppress fire on the ceiling and walls - and most of the water is on the floor, in a structure that's already (heavily) compromised... and actively being further compromised, to boot. Five minutes... 88 thousand pounds, 44 tons of weight... that's like having, what, about 30 cars parked on that floor? Even if we do succeed in knocking down the fire, the odds of the structure surviving US is small, at best... and that's one master stream. If placement allows, we'll use two, plus (if warranted) a portable from the ground, shooting into a window.

      So, apparatus placement didn't help much, as you said - but using THAT specific piece is typically a "fat lady singing" move when a residence is involved; the trusses (what few are left) in the video are a dead giveaway. A fire in that type of construction... first alarm should bring two engines and a truck; second alarm should bring an additional engine and truck (and water supply, if needed); third alarm brings coffee; fourth alarm brings donuts; fifth alarm brings pizza and fresh cell phone batteries - because if the first alarm crew couldn't nail it, it's moot. Steel Trussing sucks; Wood Trussing really, really sucks; the only thing worse is Engineered Wood.

      For what it's worth, we have several similarly *stupid* houses in our district, that have little or no access for truck or engine placement - some, you cannot even fit a freakin E-One up the driveway, let alone a stick or platform truck. For those, we've added a trailer to our Mini brush-truck; 1500 feet of supply line, a bunch of gated water-theives, and four attack lines. If WE get stuck with a fire in such a place, our initial alarm will
  • [deep operator recorded voice]We're sorry... the publicly-recognized essential service is no longer in service or has been disc...[/deep operator recorded voice]

    In any event, all humor aside - wouldn't it feel pretty bad to have a *real* emergency and be put on hold? Perhaps there are holes in the story, and maybe it is even a bit blown out of proportion. However, if someone I love was in real danger, or if my home was on fire, I'd call 911. I haven't waded through the 50+ "green" pages in the phone book
  • Loren Veltkamp ... (Score:4, Informative)

    by Fooby (10436) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @09:18PM (#14984926)
    was convicted [findlaw.com] for assaulting a former tenant of his while performing a "citizen's arrest" for failure to pay rent. He appealed the case pro se, and unsurprisingly lost on his irrelevent legal arguments. The man seems to be a bit nutty, if not dangerous.
  • by cdn-programmer (468978) <terr&terralogic,net> on Friday March 24, 2006 @11:50AM (#14988092)
    This happened frquently and I had to teach her to just be persistant and keep phoning until they listened. Her mom was very ill. Crap like this does happen and often they don't get it right.

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