herald

Monday 5 December 2016

Response: 'A balcony is broke, at least 10 fell' - 911 call

Workmen examine the damage at the scene of a 4th-story apartment building balcony collapse in Berkeley, California June 16, 2015. Six people were killed, including five young Irish citizens, and at least seven other people were injured when an apartment balcony collapsed early on Tuesday in the Californian city of Berkeley, Ireland's foreign minister said. REUTERS/Elijah Nouvelage
Workmen examine the damage at the scene of a 4th-story apartment building balcony collapse in Berkeley, California June 16, 2015. Six people were killed, including five young Irish citizens, and at least seven other people were injured when an apartment balcony collapsed early on Tuesday in the Californian city of Berkeley, Ireland's foreign minister said. REUTERS/Elijah Nouvelage

“A BALCONY is broke and at least 10 people fell from the second or third floor,” an operator says after a 911 call came in.

The horror of what had happened to a group of Irish students at the Library Gardens in Berkeley is clear from the radio communications among the emergency services.

But at 12:41am local time as operators were dispatching crews to the scene, paramedics and police did not know what they would find when they arrived at the apartment complex at 2020 Kittredge Street.

A recording of their conversations is broken and distorted but it gives a sense of the drama.

The  first responders arriving at the scene quickly realised the scale of the tragedy with paramedics finding four lifeless bodies on the street before them when they arrived, and several others badly injured.

“They are saying now four, four, four, four…,” a voice says.

The next group of voices make rapid fire requests for more emergency units,

“We do need to have PD (Police Department) on route as well...

“Truck two and medic three respond for a medical emergency...

“Two more ambulances to this event...

“Can we get more units out for the witnesses here... start taking statements.”

One emergency worker gives an update on the medical needs of some of the students.

BACKBOARDS

“Three patients are here on the ground… they are on backboards but need further treatment I think...

“Chief we have… seven or eight additional transported to various hospitals”.

One man on the recording asks the chief officer about bringing an “investigator” to the scene.

“Do you have a fire investigator or do you want a building investigator?

“I’ll wait till you get here and we will talk face to face,” the exchange goes on.

 

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