Friday, January 29, 2010

Fire Rescue Officers Terminated and Dunwoody Police Department makes a statement.


Dunwoody Police Release: Death Investigation

On January 24, 2010, officers with the Dunwoody Police Department were dispatched to assist the Dekalb County Fire Department with traffic control for a structure fire at 1687 Houghton Court North. The Dekalb Fire Department was dispatched at 1:05:36 am. The Dunwoody Police Department was dispatched at 1:11:54 am. Two Dunwoody Police Officers arrived on the scene and found several Dekalb County Fire Department vehicles preparing to leave. The Dunwoody Police officers were advised by a firefighter from Ladder 18 that they could not locate any fire and were going back in service. The Dunwoody Police officers went back in service at that time. The Dekalb Fire Department was dispatched shortly after 6:18 am and located the fire at 1687 Houghton Court North. The Dunwoody Police Department responded as well for traffic control. The Dunwoody Police Department is currently conducting a criminal investigation into the death and is working closely with the Dekalb Fire Department and the District Attorney’s Office on the investigation. Dunwoody investigators will present their findings to the District Attorney’s Office once the investigation has been concluded.


Platos Republic said...


Can you ask Chief Grogan what the protocol is for Dunwoody Police Department in such a case? Do they simply let the DeKalb Fire control the scene?

If Dunwoody PD knew of a reported fire could they have exited their cars and walked up the hill?

Seems like it was 1 AM and no one was interested in exiting their truck/car in the middle of the night.

Is this 100% fault of DeKalb Fire Department or does Dunwoody Police Department have an issue?

If I were a cop and the fireman said, "all is well" I guess I would take their word for it.

But will Dunwoody PD now change its procedures after this terrible incident?

I hope we hear a statement from our police chief aside from the fact that he is investigating DeKalb Fire Department.

Setting up a Dunwoody Fire / EMS department would cost more than setting up a police department.

Taxpayers should expect to pay at least $1000 more per year in taxes more in taxes should DeKalb Fire Department give six months notice that they are exiting Dunwoody.

Rick Callihan said...


$1000 per year seems a little high. Do expect to pay perhaps $400 a year more were we to have to set up and fund a full-time fire department. Like with the police, your biggest costs are up front. Fire engines start around $350,000, double that for a ladder truck. Dunwoody would need at least four trucks, plus rescue units, etc

A little premature to sound the alarm bells.

Dunwoody Dad said...

Personally, with the increased crime in Dunwoody due to an understaffed police department, the fact that many of the politicians and homeowners associations cannot support a fabulous growing college (or any other business enitiy for that matter), and property taxes that will be going through the roof in the next few years, not to mention a high school and middle school that cannot pass yearly academic testing, I think it is time to get out of Dunwoody.

This is not the city I moved to many years ago!

Platos Republic said...
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Platos Republic said...


This may be the time to sell, even though your value is well off its peak of three years ago. I do not see values going up any time soon in Dunwoody. I don't blame the crime nor the traffic, but the schools. Redovian's pushing for a 4-5 school to 'protect' a few families at Vanderlyn is the main reason young families will not pay top-dollar for your home.

Aleister Crowley said...
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Platos Republic said...

Ms. Crowley,

How is the firing of the firemen the fault of the city of Dunwoody?

Had the firemen been negligent in their duty (not following protocol and not getting out of their truck to get closer to the home) four years ago, the end result would have been the same.

The only thing different is that Dunwoody PD is investigating instead of DeKalb PD.

Your dislike of the new city has nothing to do with the actions of the firemen.

However, I am open to hear your side. Tell me how DeKalb firemen, operating in Dunwoody, were affected by the mere fact that they were at a call in the city limits and not at a fire in unincorporated DeKalb?

Tell us why the city is to blame?

Aleister Crowley said...

This is really sad that these four fine brave DeKalb County Fire Fighters had to lose their jobs over this. Their many combined years of selfless service will now go for naught, and they will have to attempt to get jobs in this piss poor economy to support their families.

This is really sad. I hope there will be a thorough review and then a swift remediation of this wrong done to these fine public servants.

Ken Thompson said...

This all seems quite peculiar.

At 1AM the first call comes in and we know where it came from. How? Because technology tells us. Do firemen not know this? Did they think it was a crank call? That no one was home or the household was asleep?

Did the 911 operator stay on the call until help arrived? If not, who dropped the call? Was it when the person expired? If so, should 911 have not renewed contact with 1st responders--several times?

Five hours later the second call came in. What was happening in and around that house in those five hours? Who made the second call? When was the fire first visible from the street? Does Dunwoody PD patrol this area? Where were they?

How long does 911 maintain contact with callers? With fire/police dispatch? Should they not stay in contact until first responders arrive? Did they? Is 911 a "spray and pray" operation or is it closed loop? Does anyone report back to anyone else? Maintain records? Does anyone review them? Do they work for the City?

Both the 911 service and DeKalb FD serve taxpaying residents of Dunwoody. Has the city done anything to foster interagency collaboration, or are IGAs restricted to copters, APCs, SWAT and Narcs--things used against the citizens rather than for them? Have they taken any oversight role? Asked for reports on call rate, wait time, response time? Is their only response likely to be "Urban DeKalb 911 Bad, Northern Suburb 911 Good"?

Most likely the on-the-scene decision maker should be fired, but the severity and speed of the en masse firings seems contrived---to deflect blame from those in charge of these operations, the procedures the teams use, their training and supervision, and oversight of interagency cooperation. There is a management problem here that will probably not be examined.

That the Dunwoody PD is "investigating" the DFD actions when they were involved in "investigating" the original report of fire only adds to the tragedy.

DunwoodyPerson said...

When an agency conducting an investigation has connections or involvement with the case, the GBI is often asked for assistance. Though the Dunwoody Police officers' role in this incident seem tangental, there should be some oversight.

Martini Guru said...
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Martini Guru said...
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Martini Guru said...

I applaud Chief Grogan for not sending a "knee-jerk" press release. And, look forward to hearing more of the facts.

The City is moving in the right direction.

Dunwoody Mom said...

I am sure my thoughts on this will not be popular - but here goes. There are 2 services which DeKalb County provides which, in my opinion, are top-notch, sanitation and fire - and I think most Dunwoody residents would agree with this. While I understand and appreciate the concerns raised by the Mayor and some councilmen about reviewing what occurred, I think that DeKalb County fire officials are extremely capable of reviewing and addressing this tragedy and offering remedies to make sure it does not happen again. I support our police department 100%, but from my view, the Dunwoody PD inserting themselves into this investigation gives the appearance of arrogance. Let DeKalb officials handle this. The D.A. does not need a "report" from the Dunwoody Police - let DeKalb officials handle this.

Rick Callihan said...


I see where you are coming from, but I think the police may be required to investigate any accidental death within city limits.

Dunwoody Mom said...

Rick, yes, that could be the issue. I hope that's the reason.

DunwoodyPerson said...

All of our Dunwoody elected officials have the authority to ask the GBI to take a role. They can give credibility by being impartial to the investigation.

Heyward said...

Could there be a larger problem here in the Dekalb Fire Dept? What about the Dekalb Safety commissioner who takes in $285 a year for over seeing this department? Is he going to step down too? The most important service I want from my government is safety.

Platos Republic said...

I see lots of knee-jerk reactions. This is really the first time I have seen a major problem with fire protection service from DeKalb in Dunwoody. Of course structure fires seem to be quite rare around here also.

Why all the firings and resignations?

Seems like a couple of guys were too lazy to get out of their truck at 1 AM on a cold night and it cost a life.

Ken Thompson said...

Does it violate any law to falsely report a fire? It should. If it does, should the Dunwoody Police enforce that law? Seems reasonable.

It also seems reasonable for the officer on the scene to investigate before leaving the scene. To drive up. To get out of the patrol car. To knock on the door. To find out who in the household made the call.

Did that happen? Doesn't seem like it did. If it had, would a life have been saved?

I suspect if we allow the Dunwoody PD to investigate the actions of their own officers we will never know what really happened.

Tray said...

It really baffles me how people have not taken the time out to even put themselves in these firefighter's shoes. Look at how many years those guys served the community. All of those guys served a number of years to save lives and protect property in the DEKALB county area. They are always under paid and never appreciated. Most people feel that being a firefighter is just a job. well, no....It has to be a part of you that is willing to risk your life to save others. To run in when rats and roaches are running out.

As a firefighter I clearly can say that this was not a situation where these guys didnt care. This happens everyday all over the world when firefighters go out looking for fires. But for some reason not enough info is provided. Belive me these guys are hurting.