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Lucas County fire crews sent to wrong location of woman trapped inside burning vehicle

The car fire was at Monroe and Erie streets in Sylvania, but crews were sent to Monroe and Erie streets in downtown Toledo.

SYLVANIA, Ohio — Authorities are investigating after a woman had to be rescued from a burning car by good Samaritans early Friday morning while Lucas County rescue crews called to help were sent to the wrong location.

The woman is safe after crashing her car into a snow pile about 12:30 a.m. near the intersection of Erie and Monroe streets in Sylvania. While her car burst into flames the woman was trapped inside as the car was pinned between a pole and the snow pile.

Credit: Brian May
This car fire was at Monroe and Erie streets in Sylvania, but crews were sent to Monroe and Erie streets in downtown Toledo by the Regional 911 Center

Nearby residents Bob and Brian May heard the crash and came to the woman's rescue, calling 911 and getting her out of the vehicle.

"When I walked outside, he had yelled to me to call 911," Brian May said.

Records show two separate calls for help with the first coming at 12:23 a.m.

But first responders were headed for an entirely different location -- Erie and Monroe streets in downtown Toledo -- about 12 miles away.

"It was 30-40 seconds after he got her out when the interior of the car was fully engulfed in flames," Brian May said.

Credit: Brian May

The incident raises questions about the newly consolidated Lucas County 911 dispatch operations. 

In 2019, the county committee that oversees 911 operations voted to consolidate Lucas County's eight regional call centers into one, larger operation. The move came after a study found that it could not only cut operational costs from $15.38 million a year to $10.17 million a year, but also improve service by reducing the number of misdirected calls. 

Critics worried that a single county dispatch center, which began operations four months ago, would have difficulty with situations such as this when multiple communities have streets with the same names.

Officials with Lucas County 911 Regional Council of Governments said they are looking into what happened.

"We are aware of the incident that occurred at the intersection of Monroe and Erie, in the City of Sylvania, this morning at 0023 hours," Executive Director Stacey Mitchell said.  "We are in the process of conducting an internal review."

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