Investigators probe 911 response to fatal Elmont fire

ELMONT - Investigators are probing 911's response to a fire last night in Elmont that has left a man dead.

According to detectives, fire officials responded to the house fire just after 6 p.m. and found a 33-year-old man dead in the bathroom.

Neighbors at the scene tell News 12 Long Island that they tried repeatedly to call 911 using both cell phones and landlines, but received a recording that said their call would be answered in the order it was received. Another neighbor claimed they dialed for 10 to 15 minutes before anyone answered.

Neighbors Mike Gerbasi and Marie Tursi say they eventually called the fire dispatcher directly to get help.

Fire officials say they are unaware of any problems with the system and arrived at the scene approximately three minutes after the call came in.

The 911 call center had been recently relocated from Mineola to Westbury. In April, County Executive Ed Mangano (R-Nassau) announced the county would be spending $7 million on the call center, which would hold double the amount of operators.

A spokesman for the Nassau County Police Department says officials are now investigating what happened. They say within four minutes, eight calls that came from Madison Street were disconnected, possibly due to a malfunction. They're also working with Verizon to look into whether the alleged malfunction is related to the transition of the 911 center from Mineola to Westbury.

Officials say there were no other occupants in the home at the time of the fire. Fire officials say the victim is the son of the first-floor tenants.

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