Official: Human error caused St. Louis County 911 calls to go unanswered

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by KMOV.com Staff

KMOV.com

Posted on October 30, 2013 at 11:08 PM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 30 at 11:20 PM

 (KMOV) – News 4 learned a local 911 call center was out of commission on Saturday leaving residents without reliable emergency service.  Officials say the center went down because of a human error. 

Captain Sack with the St. Louis County Fire Department said they had a few calls that went unanswered but they don’t believe any of them were a catastrophic crisis.

Nothing catastrophic but the county admits Saturday night 911 missed some calls after the call center went down for more than 30 minutes.

“We were having an electrical upgrade in Clayton and the generators ran out of fuel,” said Capt. Sack. “It was basically human error. Something was missed under the generator but it happens, we’re all humans and make mistakes.”

Officials tell News 4’s Julian Johnson it was a public works employee working on the generator who caused the mishap.

Currently, the generator is the only one responsible for powering the call center. The county knows they have an outdated system.

“We have a new center that’s going up and its going to have redundant power so if one of the generators goes down another one will actually kick on,” said Capt. Sack.

During Saturday night’s outage, crews were forced to route calls to St. Louis City before the county set up their own staging at the Emergency Operations Center. Despite the communication collapse, officers and emergency crews on the streets were never in the dark.

Captain Sack said in his 25 years with the county, he can’t remember such an incident ever happening before.

“We take the 911 calls very seriously and we understand the concerns citizens might have but we are there 24 hours a day seven days a week,” said Capt. Sack.

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