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Mayor: Ocean Isle blaze that killed 7 may have started on deck

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OCEAN ISLE BEACH (AP) -- The mayor of Ocean Isle Beach says the fire that killed seven college students at a vacation house may have started on the deck. Mayor Debbie Smith says investigators told her the fire was likely accidental and started either on or near a deck facing a canal on the west side of the house. That side of the building appeared to have suffered the most damage. Though students heard through word of mouth which students survived the fire, the names of the victims had not been announced. But Anna Lee Rhea said her older brother, William, was among the dead. Andrew Rhea made it out of the house alive. Classes were held as scheduled at the University of South Carolina today, but a garnet and black banner with the school's mascot flew at half-staff outside a fraternity house. Black ribbons were wrapped around the columns of another house. The students had gathered at the home for the weekend to enjoy the fleeting beach weather. (Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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THIS MESSAGE IS FOR

THIS MESSAGE IS FOR CAROL: EXCUSE ME! I DONT LIKE WHAT U JUST POSTED... YOU ARE TALKIN ABOUT A GOOD FRIEND OF MINE SHE WORKS AS A 911 DISPATCHER DO U NOT THINK THEY HAVE BRAINS? I THINK ITS YOU WHO DOESNT HAVE THE BRAINS CAUSE IN SOME OF THE ARTICLES U WRITTEN ABOUT LIKE THE ONE U SAID THEY NO WHERE EACH AND EVERY CALL COMES FROM...NEWS FLASH HOW DUMB IS THAT IF U CALL FROM A CELL PHONE HOW IN THE WORLD DO THEY HAVE THE ADDRESS OF WHERE U R... THINK ABOUT WHAT UR SAYING...IT BOUNCES OFF THE NEARST TOWER DUH... UR JUST WANTING TO SLAME THE PEOPLE WHO MAKES A DIFFERENCE IN EVERY COMMUNITY THINK ABOUT IT..DO U CALL THE FIRE DEPT EVERYTIME ONE OF UR FAMILY MEMBER GETS SICK OR HURT..OR THE COPS WHEN U NEED SOMETHING FAST...NO U DO NOT U CALL 911...SO WHY DO U NEED TO SLAME THE PEOPLE THAT U WILL NEED ONE DAY? I THINK NOT ENOUGH PEOPLE GIVE THE 911 DISPATCHERS ENOUGH CREIDT FOR WHAT THEY DO...THINK ABOUT IT THEY CALL THE RIGHT PEOPLE FOR THE RIGHT JOB... AND IF I DONT RECALL THAT TIME LIMIT WAS A WONDERFUL TIME LIMIT TO GET HELP FOR THE STUDENTS...4 MINS THINK ABOUT IT...I REMEMBER WHEN I HAD A BAD SEIZURE IN FLORIDA AND MY HUBBY CALLED 911 IT TOOK THEM 45 MIN TO GET TO ME SO UR COMPLAINING ABOUT OUR 911 DISPATCHERS...I THINK THEY DONE AN EXCELLENT JOB... THANK U VERY MUCH TO ALL THE 911 DISPATCHERS MY HEARTS GOES OUT TO YOU...NOT ENOUGH PEOPLE THANK YOU FOR JOBS WELL DONE...FOR THE ONE WHO DISPATCHED THE CALLS THAT DAY U DONE AND EXCELLENT JOB AND U HAD THEM FIRE FIGHTERS THERE IN 4 MINS... WOW! FOR ALL THE PEOPLE AND FAMILIES INVOLED IN THIS TERRIBLE TRAGEDY U ARE IN MY PRAYERS.. FOR THE STUDENTS IN THIS TRAGEDY....MAY U FIND PEACE.. R.I.P TO THE ONES WHO DIDNT MAKE IT

911 operator

I heard the replay of the clear 911 recorded tape and the operator sounds like she just didn't understand English that well. She sounded like she had a slight foreign accent herself. She is probably bilingual and she is working there to translate the Hispanic 911 callers......It's a shame she "didn't understand" the caller and not just "didn't hear" cause the phone was staticy

OIB 911 Operator

It seems 911 call takers have been getting tremendous amount of heat this week some justified, some not. Everyone needs to ease off the New Hanover County call takers involved in the shooting because it seems they did everything correctly allowing emergency personnel to react swiftly, safely, and flawlessly. With that being said, the lady who is heard taking the now infamous 911 call involving with the OIB fire has some serious issues. It seems she only has a loose grasp on the English language making her very hard to understand and perhaps if she had spent less time trying to lecture the gentleman calling and more time listening she could have gotten the call out more efficiently.

911 Operator

you know you have to wonder if some of these 911 operators had 1/2 of a brain if more people would survive? I heard one of the calls on CNN and the woman sounded as if she was brain dead. Please don't try to act like you don't know where its at, because if you call from a phone or a cell phone you know where they are.

just because you are on a

just because you are on a cell phone doesn't always mean we know where you are!

If you'd fix your crummy consoles...

...so that you don't have to do a re-bid every time, you would know where the caller is immediately. Every wireless carrier that I know of is now Phase II compliant.

I must say I agree with

I must say I agree with Carol. I heard that call and was so mad. The man told her Scotland Street, Ocean Isle Beach two or three times! I realize the fire was intense and probably not the 911 operators fault but it makes me wonder...

The address numbers are so important

I think the operator performed her job well. If you don't give the numbers how can someone find you? That is why it is important to have EVERY business and home with a visible address on it. If someone called and said MARKET STREET is that Downtown Wilmington? Ogden? How about Scotts Hill. She might have an accent but how many Latino people do they have in the Brunswick and New Hanover Area that need 911 and nobody to interpret what they are saying. Don't critize the people who are trying to help you, because there might not be anyone one else who will want to do that job. I think that all code enforcement in every community should look for missing numbers and cite the violators and I think the man who called should have stayed on the line and looked for an address and communicated better. Yes, he might know where Scotland Street, Ocean Isle Beach is located but do you?

911 operator.

Carol do you honestly think there was any hope to save their lives? The house was fully engulfed with fire within minutes. They were probaly dead before the first 911 call was ever made. If you call from a cell phone the best they can do is track it from the nearest cell phone tower I believe. I don't care how fast they dispatched the fire department there was no hope for them. It is a sad situation. Don't insult the 911 operators and grow up. Everyone that was involved with this event deserves the utmost respect and compassion we as a community can give.

E911 Locating of the cell phone

Phase I located only to the tower, but we are now into Phase II. They can get a fairly accurate fix on the phone itself. If it uses handset based technology, they should be able to loacte the phone within 50 meters most of the time. If you have a phone that uses network based technology, they should be able to locate you within 100 meters most of the time. The handset based technology, which uses a GPS receiver in the phone, works remarkably better than the network based solution, which requires readings from multiple cell tower locations to give an estimate of where you are.

WELL SINCE YOU SEEM TO THINK

WELL SINCE YOU SEEM TO THINK YOU KNOW SO MUCH ABOUT OUR JOB AND WHAT WE DO...WHY DON'T YOU COME AND DO IT. APPLICATIONS ARE HANDED OUT DAILY AT THE ESC. ON ANOTHER NOTE, YOU MAY THINK YOU KNOW SO MUCH ABOUT THESE CELL PHONE TOWERS BUT YOU REALLY DON'T. OUR COUNTY IS OVER 800 SQ MILES AND ABOUT ONLY HALF OF THE CELL PHONE TOWERS WORK ON PHASE II AND ONLY ABOUT HALF OF THE TIME. IF YOU CALL FROM SOMEWHERE ON 17 IN THE AREA OF LELAND IT WILL SAY "COLLINS WAY"..IF YOU CALL FROM SOMEWHERE IN THE SUPPLY AREA IT WILL SAY "GREEN SWAMP RD" IF YOU CALL FROM OCEAN ISLE I CAN GUARANTEE THAT IT WILL SAY "OCEAN ISLE BEACH BLVD" ROUGHLY TRANSLATED INTO LOCAL TERMS "4 MILE ROAD" SO NO IT DOES NOT GIVE US A LOCATION WITHIN 50 METERS, MUCH LESS 5 MILES. AND BY THE WAY YOU TALK YOU MUST WORK FOR ATMC OR CINGULAR OR SOME CELL PHONE COMPANY AND IF SO MAYBE YOU SHOULD INQUIRE ABOUT WHY YOUR TOWERS THAT ARE SUPPOSED TO WORK WITH PHASE II DON'T WORK 90% OF THE TIME. HALF THE TIME THE TOWER DOESN'T EVEN GIVE US THE RIGHT PHONE NUMBER. GET YOUR FACTS STRAIGHT ABOUT HOW THE TOWERS WORK FOR US AND ABOUT WHAT REALLY GOES ON IN THAT CENTER BEFORE YOU GET ON HERE TRYING TO GIVE EVERYONE A LESSON IN IT

Thanks for the hissy fit

I've been working E911 since its inception in the mid Nineties. How about you? Obviously you haven't been there long enough to know that when a wireless call is received the address on the screen IS the cell tower and sector. You have to look at the Phase II, X and Y coordinates to ascertain where the caller is. After all, a cell phone doesn't exactly HAVE an address like a land-line, does it? Oh, in Bolivia you have to get that information AFTER you do a re-bid, because you have a glitch in the Brunswick County system that doesn't provide Phase II until you do that re-bid. The coordinates are then plotted to give the caller's location. If the carriers are not Phase II compliant, they risk massive fines from the FCC. You can bet that they stay on top of it. Perhaps you should discuss this with your supervisor or manager, and learn your job?

For the most part, 911

For the most part, 911 Operators can get a pretty good location from where someone is calling from. But it's not an exact location. There is a couple miles radius of where a call is coming from. If you are an E911 Operator, you know that you are trained to ask for addresses or exact locations b/c the display on your monitor may not be correct.

Here is what the FCC requires

For network-based solutions: 100 meters for 67 percent of calls, 300 meters for 95 percent of calls; For handset-based solutions: 50 meters for 67 percent of calls, 150 meters for 95 percent of calls. I'm not a PSAP operator, I'm an engineer who has to test the E911 system. I've already gone on record as saying that the handset-based technology works substantially better than the network based solutions. The network-based solutions have had more than their share of troubles in meeting the accuracy spec, but I assure you that it's substantially better than "a couple of miles." That said, when we test both types of systems with the PSAP, the operators continuously report that they ARE receiving Phase II X and Y coordinates. What the county does with that information is entirely up to them. If they are incapable of taking a latitude and longitude and providing emergency service providers with an accurate location, then they have a problem at that PSAP. However, the charge that the carriers are only reporting the cellular tower location is groundless....or else the PSAP operators are lying to us....which I don't think is the case. The bottom line is that no technology in the world is capable of providing a street address for a cellular phone. The best it can do is report that "the phone is at this spot on the planet." Of course callers should give an address if available, but the whole reason that E911 was developed was to cover those situations where an address was not or could not be provided. The carriers can give them raw location data, but computing where that is falls entirely upon the PSAP and its resources.