911 operator laughs as caller reports his girlfriend is on fire

 

Some things just aren't funny, the Pima County Sheriff's Department  acknowledges. 

The Arizona law enforcement agency is investigating the way dispatchers handled an emergency call seeking help for a woman who was on fire after a freak accident. Laughter can be heard in the background of the call, according to a tape recording that has gone viral.

“We did not perform as I expect or the citizens of this county expect us to,” Capt. Jim Berry, a sheriff’s spokesman, told KGUN-TV in Tucson. “We're going to correct that.”

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Lalo Delgado and his girlfriend were on their way to Chiva Falls, Ariz., when he called 911 for help.

“My car just kinda caught on fire, my girlfriend caught on fire,” Delgado tells the operator.

“Is your girlfriend still on fire?” the operator replies.

Caller: "No."

911: "No?"

(laughter in background)

911: "OK. (chuckles) Umm... Is your vehicle still on fire?"

Caller: "It's hilarious, huh?"

911: "Sir, is your vehicle still on fire?"

Caller: "I just heard you smirk..."

911: "OK, sir it wasn't regarding that, OK."

Caller: "Yeah, I just heard you laugh."

Delgado calls back seeking help and to make sure aid was on the way.

911: "911, what is your emergency?"

Caller: "Yeah."

911: "Hello?"

Caller: "Yeah, I called in a few minutes ago and I just wanted to make sure you took me seriously."

After the tape went viral, Berry told reporters,  “Certainly I can understand why he was upset. I would be too. We're investigating what the laughter was about.”

The unidentified woman was recovering from her injuries.

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As an editor and reporter, Michael Muskal has covered local, national, economic and foreign issues at three newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times. @latimesmuskal

 

Matt Pearce, a University of Missouri graduate, has previously written for the Kansas City Star, the Los Angeles Review of Books, The New Inquiry and The Pitch. @mattdpearce


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