City Confirms Dispatch Error in Deadly Queens Blaze

The mistake was quickly corrected, officials said.

Monday, Nov 9, 2009  |  Updated 8:30 AM EDT
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City Confirms Dispatch Error in Deadly Queens Blaze

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An emergency dispatcher's keystroke error sent fire trucks toward the wrong address during a blaze that killed three people in Queens, authorities said.
   

The mistake was quickly corrected while the trucks were enroute on Saturday. It's not clear whether it was a factor in the deaths.    
A spokesman for Mayor Michael Bloomberg acknowledged the dispatch error, but said other issues were more significant.
   
Jason Post said the basement windows were barred and the floors were illegally subdivided. He said the building also lacked working smoke detectors.
   
Some firefighters cited the incident as a sign that the city's new dispatching system is not working. City officials defended the system, which was put in place over union objections.

    Four other people were injured in the blaze, including at least one person with third degree burns.

The Fire Department says the house on 65th Place was illegally subdivided, with two apartments in the basement, where the bodies were found.

The Buildings Department cited the owners with three violations prior to and after the fire.

Relatives of the owners told 1010 WINS that the fire may have been sparked by faulty electric heaters. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

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