Albuquerque Fire Investigating Why Dispatcher Hung Up on Caller

The Albuquerque Fire Department is investigating a firefighter who allegedly hung-up on a frantic 911 caller because the caller swore at him while CPR instructions were being given.

The strange incident occurred on June 26, 2015, but details of the complaint only recently became widely known. Albuquerque firefighter Matthew Sanchez was working in the dispatch center when a caller reported that Jaydon Chavez-Silver, a 17 year old high school student, had been shot. Sanchez began giving the caller instructions, the transcript of which is as follows:

Caller: “I’m doing CPR as we speak. I’m keeping him alive.”

Sanchez: “Okay, is he not breathing?”

Caller: “Barely” (inaudible) “Stay with him” (inaudible) “Stay with him, good job. Just stay with me, okay, okay. There you go. Good job Jaydon.”

Sanchez: “Is he breathing?”

Caller: “He’s barely breathing. How many times do I have to f***ing tell you?”

Sanchez: “Ok, you know what ma’am, you could deal with it yourself. I’m not gonna deal with this, okay?”

Caller: “No” (inaudible).

Fire Chief David Downey released a statement that reads: “After learning of the alleged misconduct, Driver Matthew Sanchez was immediately removed from the dispatch center and placed on administrative assignment. An internal investigation has been initiated. As the Chief of the department, I am taking the allegation very seriously.”

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 40 years of fire service experience and 30 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.

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