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911 Dispatcher Placed On Leave Amid Miami Beach Fire Response Investigation

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Healthwatch

MIAMI BEACH (CBS4) –  A 911 dispatcher has been relieved of duty with pay while Miami Beach Police complete an investigation into why it took more than a half an hour to respond to a Venetian Islands home and help a dying man, police chief Ray Martinez tells CBS4 News.

The dispatcher, who has not been identified,  is the only person that has been placed on leave. Investigators are reviewing police, paramedic, and bridge tender procedures on the day in question, March 5.

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.

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!”

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.”

A report on the investigation’s findings is expected to be released sometime next week.

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