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9-1-1 calls go unanswered

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Everyone knows to call 9-1-1 in an emergency, but what happens if no one answers? It’s a question some New Hanover County residents were forced to answer over the weekend. “It rang, and rang, and rang, and rang, and no one answered,” said Kathy Boone.

Around 6:30 Saturday night, neighbors noticed a fire at Johnson Farms the Lakes in New Hanover County. They immediately called 9-1-1.

Kathy Boone explained, “I had my cell phone on this ear and her house phone on the other ear, and they were just ringing and ringing.”

Fellow neighbor John Cumbus said, “My wife tried three times to get 9-1-1 and the phone rang, nobody was there.”

About five neighbors called to report the house fire at 5103 Everett Court. They say they couldn’t believe no one answered their calls.

“I shut my eyes and I was like, wake up because you’re dreaming. I really thought I was dreaming for a moment,” Kathy Boone said.

After about five minutes of failed attempts to get through to 9-1-1, one neighbor called the sheriff’s department for help.

“On the third try with that she was told the fire department was on the way,” Cumbus said.

After that, neighbors say the fire department was there within minutes, but they’re not letting 9-1-1 operators off the hook just yet.

“It’s pretty uncomfortable, I’ve got two small children so, it’s very concerning,” Boone said.

Neighbors say a fire fighter told them 9-1-1 was just too flooded with calls when neighbors tried to report the fire.

One neighbor says 9-1-1 operators did eventually call back, but by that time firefighters were already on their way.

Emergency services say they’re looking into why the calls weren’t answered.

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Story summary

videoEveryone knows to call 9-1-1 in an emergency, but what happens if no one answers? It’s a question some New Hanover County residents were forced to answer over the weekend. “It rang, and rang, and rang, and rang, and no one answered,” said Kathy Boone.

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