Under scrutiny over a delayed response to 911 calls for help June 4, the night Fitz Thomas drowned at Confluence Park, Loudoun County government on Monday released an unsigned statement promising a report on its internal review.
According to the county’s statement, from the time of the first 911 call—which was routed to Montgomery County, MD—it took 36 minutes for Loudoun first responders to arrive on scene. Loudoun’s dispatchers received their first call at 6:06 p.m., 18 minutes before help arrived.
Recordings of those 911 calls obtained by Loudoun Now through a Freedom of Information Act request tell a story of people calling desperately for help, and furious or heartbroken that it isn’t coming.
“They went to the Maryland side of River Creek and we’re on the Virginia side, and someone’s drowning,” the first Loudoun caller said. She was transferred to Montgomery County dispatch anyway.
“It’s River Creek community,” said one caller. “God, it’s, guys, come on, can you please—Confluence Park, River Creek, we’re in Loudoun County, Leesburg, Virginia. How are you not getting this?”
“It’s been over 30 minutes, this kid’s going to die, OK,” said one caller transferred to Loudoun from Montgomery County dispatch, possibly the same person. “I’m just telling you guys, it’s been 30 f—ing minutes.”
Since those calls, Loudoun Fire-Rescue Chief Keith Johnson has said that dispatchers will now send units out without worrying first about jurisdiction near waterways.
According to the statement, “Loudoun County is currently conducting a thorough review of the incident. We caution the public not to jump to conclusions until all of the facts are known.” The statement also promises a report will be published after the internal investigation.
“We caution the public not to jump to conclusions until all of the facts are known,” it says.