ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) — Alderman of the 21st Ward John Muhammad said he called to report a building fire to the St. Louis City’s 911 center — and no response for minutes.
“I was here for almost 10 minutes and I could not get through,” Muhammad said. He was in the area Friday afternoon when he saw black smoke “just swallowing up the air.”
His concerns grew when he couldn’t get through to report it. “I’m frustrated and I’m furious,” he said.
News 4 Investigates found the City of St. Louis only answers 65% of 911 calls within 10 seconds. Leaving the remaining 35% of calls on hold or unanswered. “That’s completely unacceptable especially for our city,” said Muhammad.
News 4 reached out to Mayor Tishaura Jones’ office and a spokesperson said they are currently reviewing how the city handles 911 calls. They’re considering consolidating the city’s three 911 call centers. The primary call center is handled by the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, who transfers calls for fire or ems services to those respective departments. Jones’ office says by formalizing a more centralized approach it could help improve this problem.
Jones’ office also says they are looking into recruitment efforts to hire more dispatchers. They want to assess how consolidating the dispatch centers first before considering a partnership with the county’s dispatch center.