Tuesday evening, members of the Culver Town Council heard Town Manager Ginny Munroe discuss a recent county emergency service situation. She reminded the council of a meeting she had with the County Commissioners about issues Culver has having with the Countywide Dispatch Center in early August.
There was an issue the county is investigating that happened on Saturday, October 15th. She said there was a 911 cell phone call from the Culver Academies Campus for a small fire in the Memorial Building on the campus. Munroe said she received a call from the Academy because the Culver Fire Department was never dispatched to the scene. She told the council she called Fire Chief Terry Wakefield, and he immediately called the campus. Munroe continued, “Sometimes if a call is made from a landline on the campus it goes to their security. In this particular case, the 911 call was apparently placed from a cell phone.”
The Culver Fire Chief contacted Marshall County Dispatch and talked with Director Matt Pitney who said he would investigate what happened. Munroe said, “A week later, we had not heard back so I reached out and Matt is telling me that they do not have a record of that call taking place. He contacted Fulton County and Starke County to see if for some reason the call went through one of those counties and apparently it did not.”
The Culver Town Manager said they don’t have an answer to whether or not that call actually took place. The status of the issue is the County Dispatch is still investigating.
Chief Wakefield elaborated on the academy fire situation saying they were asked to come over to the campus on Sunday to look at the fire scene and try to determine what had started the fire. He said a company had already been there to begin the cleanup work. The Chief said they believe they have determined the cause after looking at campus security photos. They are looking for the person who made the phone call.
The Culver Fire Chief estimated thousands of dollars of smoke damage to the Legion Memorial Building and several items that were burned in the fire.
Additional information from Marshall County Dispatch:
Marshall County 911 Director Matt Pitney confirmed with WTCA that he was contacted on Oct. 16th by the Culver Fire Chief about the fire at the Culver Academies. Chief Wakefield told Pitney a caterer had called 911 but Culver Fire was never dispatched.
Pitney said he would look into it and get back to him. On Monday, October 17, after checking all the county’s records including the CAD, the recorder, and the 911 system, he said, “The call never came into the Marshall County Central Dispatch Center. I contacted Chief Wakefield on Monday and advised him of what I found.” Pitney told the Culver Chief that he would continue to look into the issue.
Pitney contacted Troy Heckaman with Culver Academy who told him that he had talked to the caterer that said she had called 911 and had talked to someone in 911. Troy told Pitney that he saw on her cell phone that she had dialed 911 at 1:50 pm on October 15th.
Pitney said he contacted Culver Fire Chief Wakefield again on Tuesday, October 18th to let him know he had talked to Heckaman from the Academies. He also told him he had sent requests to the Fulton, Starke, and Pulaski County 911 Directors to see if the call had been routed to one of their centers. He said he would let the fire chief know something as soon as he had anything new to tell him. I had not contacted him back as of Monday, October 24th because I did not have anything new to tell him. In the meantime, I received an email from Ginny Munroe late Monday, October 24th in the evening, requesting an update, to which I replied on Tuesday morning after returning to the office and finding the email. After hearing from all the other 911 Directors that none of them had any records of receiving the call, Pitney contacted Heckaman and he provided him the phone number of the person who allegedly made the call.
The County 911 Director placed a trouble ticket with INDigital who handles the 911 system for the State of Indiana and provided them with the phone number. In an email to WTCA Pitney said, “If indeed, the caterer called 911, they will have a record.”
Marshall County is waiting to hear back from INDigital. Pitney said, “We have no further information to provide at this time. We do know that this was not a failure of the Marshall County Central Dispatch equipment or personnel. We are trying to determine if a call was actually made if it was a failure of the caller’s carrier, an outside phone company, or the State 911 system.”