911 jams causes panic among residents

RDOS chair received several calls and texts from panicked residents unable to get through to 911

  • Jul. 17, 2018 10:09 p.m.

While several blazes burned across the Okanagan, Regional Districts had to put a different kind of fire out when the 911 lines jammed causing constituents to panic.

Karla Kozakevich, chair of the RDOS and director for Area E (Naramata), said she was holding a public meeting about adding an additional agri-tourism suite on Lower DeBeck Road when her phone started vibrating non-stop.

“I was doing a public hearing then I had to call it because my phone kept vibrating. I have a phone where the voice messages translate to text so I saw about the fires and the problems with 911 and told them sorry folks we need to take a break while I deal with some fires,” she said.

At least 13 fires broke out Tuesday evening in the Okanagan and Similkameen when a lightening storm rolled through the area.

“Apparently I’m hearing there were so many calls coming into 911. When you call in they ask fire, ambulance, police, they were just so overwhelmed with two fires in Naramata and a fire in Summerland there was fires in the Central Okanagan as well in Peachland and the Joe Rich area. They were all calling in at once. I texted the chief and asked the person to keep calling 911 and let me know when they get through,” she said.

Related: Update: Lightening sparks blaze above Summerland

Kozakevich said fires were bound to happen with the drastic switch to hot weather. She said she heard thunder before she went into the public meeting at 7 p.m. and knew that would bring lightening.

She said the inability to get through to 911 is usually not an issue.

“it’s not that something is not getting reported but that 100 people are phoning about the same thing. It’s tough for people when they don’t get an answer when calling 911.”

Residents in the Central Okanagan also complained of ‘failed calls’ or dispatch hanging up on them when they dialed 911.

One resident said he tried to call 911 regarding a fire in Kelowna, but was immediately put on hold and then the call dropped.

A fire in Naramata came dangerously close to a home, Kozakevich said.

“It was on North Naramata Road around the 6,000 block, which means it’s headed towards Indian Rock. There was a house near there but the Naramata fire department put it out,” she said.

The other fire is up in the hills near the KVR trail near a place known as Rock Oven Park.

“There’s no structures up there. B.C. Wildfire is up there working on it now. So between the Naramata Fire Department and the B.C. Wildfire Service things are starting to calm down,” she said.

Kozakevich said she could see the Summerland Fire from her deck and noted that air bombers and helicopters were on scene and it looked as if the fire was being contained.

Related: Update: Several fires burning in Lower Similkameen

Just Posted

Sicamous’ first cannabis store to open June 27

High Mountain Cannabis, located on Finlayson Street, recently received their provincial licence

Seymour Arm road to remain closed until at least early next week

Mudslides close forest service road, repairs can’t be made safely until rain stops

UPDATE: Trans-Canada Highway reopens after fatal collision west of Salmon Arm

Police collision analysis and reconstruction investigating scene of head-on crash

Man charged in Salmon Arm church shooting returns to court

Provincial Court judge allows two-week adjournment in murder, assault changes

Two girls teams and one boys team to play “B Cup” Provincials in July

The U14 Girls, the U13/14 Boys and the U16 Girls have all qualified for provincials

VIDEO: Killer whale steals fisherman’s catch off North Coast

Fishing duel results in eager orca snagging salmon in Prince Rupert

UPDATED: Highway 97 closed near Penticton closed until at least 10 p.m.

Accident closes highway in both directions; reopening expected at 10 p.m.

Kelowna Rocket invited to Hockey Canada National Under-17 Development Camp

The 16-year-old was selected by the Rockets 18th overall at the 2018 WHL Bantam Draft

Fate of accused in Canadian couple’s 1987 killings in jury’s hands

William Talbott’s lawyer says DNA doesn’t prove murder

In photos: Co-op steps up for Shannon Sharp Learning Circle

Armstrong Regional Co-op donates $30,000 through

Okanagan RCMP serve up slices and support for Special Olympics B.C.

Last years inaugural campaign raised more than $12,000

Car window smashed with a bike in Kelowna

A staffer working in the area on the incident says vandalism is a reoccurring problem

Kelowna Mayor’s walking tour of Rutland cancelled

Growing issues surrounding supportive housing leads to rescheduled meeting with concerned resident

Hergott: Moral obligations and your will

Lawyer Paul Hergott discusses wills and moral obligation

Most Read