NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — The head of the Orleans Parish Communication District is setting the record straight and defending his staff amid criticism of their response to the domestic-violence-fueled fire that killed three children.

According to OPCD Interim Executive Director Karl Fasold, they did not drop the ball on their end, but he is open to discussion regarding ways to collectively improve response.

The frantic mother called 911 at 11:54:41 p.m. A minute later at 11:55:35 p.m., Fasold says an incident report was created for the New Orleans Police Department, categorizing the call as Code 2, which requires a lights-and-sirens response.

Data provided by OPCD shows the fire department wasn’t notified until 15 minutes after the initial call when a neighbor called to report the fire at 12:08:55 a.m.

“Current policies and procedures are not to dispatch fire because somebody says someone’s going to set a fire,” Fasold said.

At one point during the phone call, the mother asked the call taker, “Are we talking, or are they actually going, on the way?” The call taker responded, “I sent this over for you.”

While discussing the call-taking protocol, Fasold explained, “So, there is no delay while she was asking the additional questions on what’s the suspect description, tell me more about what’s happening,” Fasold said. “It had already gone to the dispatcher.”

New Orleans firefighters arrived on scene in less than five minutes of being dispatched at 12:14:13 a.m. New Orleans police arrived on scene at 12:20:00 a.m., about 26 minutes after the mother called 911 and more than 20 minutes after they were notified.

“There were no units available; therefore, no one could be assigned to go to it,” Fasold said. “Now, if there had been a unit available that was on the other side of the seventh district, who knows? You know, that’s all pure speculation.”

During Thursday’s New Orleans City Council meeting, council vice president Helena Moreno criticized the Orleans Parish Communication District for a lack of urgency.

“All I can say is to look at the facts of the timeline,” Fasold said. “We broadcast it within four minutes of the call hitting us and broadcast it out to for a police response. I don’t know if there’s anything else we can do. If we discover it, we’ll do it.”

OPCD’s training compliance team is looking into the incident.

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