‘911 failed’ in Queens fire that killed two children: NYC investigator

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FAR ROCKAWAY, Queens (PIX11) -- The city's 911 system failed in the case of a fire that left two young children dead, the city's chief investigator said on Tuesday after issuing a report of his department's six-month probe into the April 2014 incident.

The report added that New York's 911 system has failed broadly, and the Department of Investigation said that it's working with the FDNY to implement a newer, more efficient response system.

The family of the toddlers who died -- Aniya and Jai Launi Tinglin, both 4 -- had said after the April 19 fire that the city's slow response to the scene is what turned an emergency situation into a tragedy.

On Tuesday, the Department of Investigation's commissioner agreed.

"What we found in the case were a series of significant human errors," Commissioner of the Department of Investigation Mark G. Peters told PIX11 News.

Among the errors made in the response to the incident that ended up being a double fatality, according to the commissioner, was "the mistaken belief by one dispatcher that another had notified EMS of the need to dispatch an ambulance, and the failure to take steps to reassign or retrain a dispatcher with a history of mistakes."

Commissioner Peters pointed out that because of multiple errors by dispatchers, it took 21 minutes to get the first firefighting unit to arrive at the Bay 30th Street home -- more than three times the average response time.

"We've got a system now that is very complicated and requires seven different dispatchers performing seven different tasks" in order mobilize a response team, Peters said. "It actually makes human error more likely."

The commissioner also said that his office is now working with the FDNY on a new response protocol that should change the 911 system by reducing the number of people involved in dispatching response units. That change alone, Commissioner Peters said, should ensure that all response times stay between the five to seven minute average, and not take longer.

That new protocol has already been implemented, but the commissioner said that, based on recommendations from his office, the FDNY will make significant 911 system changes that will come online within the next six months.

"They're going to be implementing computer bridges" into the dispatch system, Peters said, which should result in shortening the time of dispatch.

Out at the scene of the two fire deaths, on Bay 30th Street, in the Bayswater section of the Rockaways, the great grandmother of the two children told PIX11 News that she was pleased that the city had acknowledged its severe shortcoming, but that the admission caused her to relive the horror of what had happened.

Jane Ugochukwuu is a regular visitor to the house next door to the fire damaged house, which is now under renovation. She said that while she appreciated the results of the city's investigation, she's waiting to see if its proposed changes take place.

"There's many things they say," she told PIX11 News. "Let's hope they will carry out what they said."