Wednesday, May 26, 1999

Mixup could have delayed
fire rescue crews

By Jaymes K. Song


A communications mixup is believed to have caused a delay in the arrival of fire crews at the scene of an industrial accident at Barbers Point deep draft harbor.

Meanwhile, an investigation is continuing into why emergency medical units took 19 minutes to arrive at the scene.

An operations supervisor for Hawaii Stevedores was killed early yesterday when he backed a forklift off the pier and into the water. The victim was identified as Edgar Fernandez, 56.

The accident occurred at 2:30 a.m. during the loading of a ship.

Ambulance dispatchers received the first emergency call at 2:34 a.m.

The ambulance was on scene at 2:53 a.m., 19 minutes after the call, Emergency Medical Services officials said today.

According to EMS guidelines, the response time for the Barbers Point Harbor should be within 15 minutes.

Fire crews were called for assistance at 2:40 a.m. The ambulance dispatcher asked for the Barbers Point fire station, which is a federal fire station.

Federal firefighters from Barbers Point were immediately dispatched. Six minutes later, the federal firefighters reported that nothing was at the Barbers Point Harbor and asked if the scene could be the deep draft harbor, which is not military property.

After learning that the scene was the deep draft harbor, city firefighters were dispatched from Kapolei to assist at 2:50 a.m. They were on scene in seven minutes.

The deep draft harbor is also listed as Barbers Point Harbor on fire maps.

"The department believes the misunderstanding between the EMS operator and the fire communications operator was a misunderstanding of locations," said Fire Capt. Richard Soo. "However, we as a department believe the delay did not contribute to the death of the individual."

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