MIAMI BEACH (CBS4) – Miami Beach Fire Rescue has promised a full investigation after a woman said to took more than a half and hour for crews to arrive to her Venetian Islands home and help her dying husband.
The widow’s story was revealed after she sent a heartbreaking email to her neighbors just days after her husband’s death. In it, she claimed Miami Beach Fire Rescue took more than half an hour to respond to her call for help because they were stuck at a drawbridge.
On Thursday, Miami Beach Fire Rescue Captain Adonis Garcia responded to the woman’s claims.
“It’s being investigated,” said Capt. Garcia. “As far as whether the bridge was up or down, we are investigating and that will come out in the report.”
He told CBS4’s Michele Gillen that results of the internal investigation would be revealed soon, and would only comment on general response time procedures.
“From 4 to 6 minutes is our regular response time and that is one of the fastest in the state,” said Capt. Garcia.
Commissioner Tobin read the widow’s message.
“It was numbing,” Miami Beach City Commissioner Edward Tobin said. “It makes you weak-kneed. It was devastating and we’re looking into it. I think the woman who lost her husband has a lot of courage to let people know so that hopefully this doesn’t happen to anybody again.”
According to a police report, the woman, whose name and address we’ve decided not to report, called 911 at 9:05 am after finding her husband on the floor of their bedroom.
The report said a rescue unit was dispatched at 9:12, and it didn’t arrive until 9:36, 31 minutes after the initial call was placed.
The woman said she called 911 more than once, and was even put on a hold for a time.
The nearest fire station is about 2 miles away.
In the woman’s email, she said cops eventually arrived.
She wrote, “Two terrific officers stayed with me for hours. When they checked the time of my original call to 911 and what followed, they were appalled. They asked the rescue men what took so long…and were told, they were stuck for a bridge!”
Commissioner Tobin said he believes there is a protocol for emergency crews when dealing with bridges on the beach. He mentioned that might have to be reviewed.
The police report did not list a cause of death, but it said the man had been ill due to complications from Crohn’s disease.
In her email she said, “I can’t bring my husband back but know had they been timely I would still have him with me.”
Commissioner Tobin said he will hold off before passing judgment.
“I certainly am dumbfounded,” he told CBS4’s Lauren Pastrana. “At the appropriate time, if it warrants it, there will be some severe consequences.”
A spokeswoman for the City of Miami Beach also said the city manager was also looking into the incident.