- Associated Press - Tuesday, October 21, 2014

NEW YORK (AP) - The New York City Fire Department’s “highly cumbersome” dispatch system contributed to delays in sending ambulances to a fire in Queens in April that killed two 4-year-old siblings, according to a new report released Tuesday by the city Department of Investigation.

The department’s investigation “exposed an antiquated, unwieldy system for dispatching ambulances to the scene of an active fire that substantially increases the opportunity for human error,” said DOI Commissioner Mark G. Peters.

The blaze, which was sparked when a child was playing with fire, broke out at a home in Far Rockaway, Queens. The first call to 911 came at 11:51 p.m. According to fire officials, an ambulance should have been dispatched at 11:57 p.m. when the fire was confirmed, but the first ambulance wasn’t sent out until 12:05 a.m.

The victims, Aniya Tinglin and her half brother, Jai’Launi Tinglin, were each 4. Their 4-year-old sister, 63-year-old grandfather and a 55-year-old woman survived the blaze.

A supervisor and three 911 dispatchers later were suspended for 30 days without pay.

The report, which found no wrongdoing, concluded the dispatch of the ambulance - which arrived 21 minutes after the initial 911 calls - “was impeded by a highly cumbersome ambulance dispatching process” that involved interaction between at least seven staff member from the FDNY, the New York Police Department and Emergency Medical Services.

The investigation also determined that poor supervision of the dispatch staff contributed to the errors in responding the fire.

Among the report’s recommendations were streamlining the dispatch process, improving supervision of dispatchers, and enhancing communication between the fire and EMS dispatch systems.

Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro said the department has implemented several procedural changes and is investing in technology “to make certain that there’s no delay sending ambulances to fires.”

“Our goal is to do the best job possible on every emergency call we handle and that’s the standard I expect of everyone - including our dispatchers,” Nigro added.

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