Fire Official: Alarm Monitoring Firm Contacted Fire Authorities 2 Hours After Blaze Started

Authorities say a 911 call reveals that Security Central called for dispatch two hours after a fire started at the Marshall Square Retirement Community in Georgia.

COLUMBIA COUNTY, Ga. – A massive fire at the Marshall Square Retirement Community Tuesday has left one dead, two other injured, and displaced roughly 90 individuals.

Authorities claim Security Central, the company responsible for monitoring fire alarm activations, didn’t contact the Columbia County Fire Department until two hours after the fire started, The Augusta Chronicle reports.

Security Central released a statement disputing news reports that authorities were not alerted to the fire at the facility until two hours after it began.

Columbia County authorities received a call around 3:19 a.m. from a caller inside the building, who told a dispatcher that there was a lot of smoke coming from the core of the building. Two hours at 5:13 a.m., the same dispatcher received a call from Security Central about the blaze.

In the 911 call, a Security Central operator can be heard saying, “We had 14 fire alarms so we just had to notify you guys.”

After receiving the address, the dispatcher tells the central station operator, “We’ve been on the scene at that fire; that building has been burning for two hours now. We’re on the scene and doing the best we can with it now.”

RELATED: Security Alarm Alerts Virginia Family of House Fire

Dorothy Carpenter, a 91-year-old resident, was found dead in her third-floor apartment. Firefighters were able to rescue Rhetta Cadle, 82, from the rubble after seven hours huddled inside her bathroom, The Augusta Chronicle reports.

Although the facility had an active sprinkler system, several residents said the sprinklers failed to activate during the fire. Authorities said that some sprinklers were activated while others were not.

The Columbia County Fire Department has been called out to the retirement complex four times since it opened in November. A manager said burned popcorn activated the alarm the first time and the others were false activations. The latest incident was the first time there was an actual fire.

Authorities stated that calls by Security Central on the previous instances appeared timely.

The state Office of Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are investigating the cause of the fire.

First 911 Call

Second 911 Call

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