Wednesday, November 28 2012 5:07 PM EST2012-11-28 22:07:18 GMT
By Nikki Gaskinsngaskins@abcnews4.comNORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV)—They cried out for help as close to 40 people watched in horror as their homes burned down before their very eyes Monday evening. NowMore >>
They cried out for help as close to 40 people watched in horror as their homes burned down before their very eyes Monday evening.More >>
CHARLESTON, SC (WCIV) -- It's a question dozens of fire victims are asking: could the fire response to a massive apartment fire have been better?
The North Charleston fire destroyed 14 homes Monday, at the Delta Oaks apartment complex. We examined the fire incident report obtained from the North Charleston Fire Department. The report shows when the first call for help came in and then how soon crews could respond.
According to the fire agency incident report, the first of multiple 911 calls was received at 4:45 p.m.
"We have a blazing fire at 5150 Delta Oaks," said one caller. "The fire department needs to get here, people are going to get hurt!"
"The blaze is just spreading to other apartments, when is somebody going to get out here," asked another caller.
Apartment residents who scrambled to evacuate during those initial moments, claimed the fire and chaos spread slowly. Some were unsatisfied with the response time.
"It was a long process, it wasn't a matter of minutes or seconds. It was a slow process," said apartment resident, Natassia Mosley.
"Everyone was calling 911 and you know what they told us, 'They're on their way' that's it," Gloria Mosley said. "And when they got here it was up in flames."
Less than five minutes after the first call, the first crew was en route to the fire.
The first firefighters arrived, the report states, at 4:51 p.m..
The North Charleston Fire Department commented on the county-wide response in a statement Wednesday.
"The first unit arrived in less than two minutes (from the time the first crew was dispatched). The first responsibility of any arriving unit is to ensure the residents are out of harms way. A large force of additional units arrived promptly and quickly began a well-coordinated fire attack," the statement reads.
From the time dispatchers answered the initial 911 call, it took crews about six minutes to get to Delta Oaks. It also appears from the report, and we checked with the fire department, crews found a hydrant and first started spraying water on the building at 4:58 p.m., 13 minutes after the first call.
ABC News 4 also spoke to the owner of Delta Oaks, who said he thought the fire department "did a great job."
Crews also managed to stop the fire from spreading to four other buildings.
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