Mayer fire chief questioned about long rescue callPosted: Updated:
MAYER - An Arizona fire department has been facing tough questions for weeks now as to why it took crews an hour to respond to a water rescue in which a 6 year old boy died.
The fast moving water ended up being a big obstacle for fire fighters, but we now know miscommunication also played a large role in slowing their response time.
"This is the Arizona hunt club," said Mayer Fire Chief Glenn Brown "and it was essentially an island surrounded by flowing water." Chief Brown is calling the evening of January 21st, a "perfect storm."
"Every attempt we could've made and tried to make ended up not working for us," said Brown.
He's defending criticism it took an hour for his fire department to respond to a water rescue only five and half miles from the closest station.
Chief Brown says a bad location given by a 911 caller had rescuers searching an area south of the Agua Fria river. The actual location was a half a mile north on the other side of the now raging river.
"The road that we come in on is Old Sycamore road off highway 69 and this is where it crosses the Agua Fria river, and the Agua Fria river is normally, you can drive across it, that night it was running about 250 feet wide."
While rescuers made their way around the river, having to deal with other washes flowing high with water, David Baudeck and his kids were gripping onto their Chevy Avalanche.
David described what happened, "When the wash finally knocked us off the back of the truck I threw my daughter onto a tree and I couldn't find my son, I couldn't find him."
Rescue crews showed up just as David and his kids fell into the water. His son Jacob didn't make it. He was only six years old. Brown says they attempted to fly DPS's rescue helicopter, but because of the storm the pilot was forced to land at Black Canyon city for safety.
Brown says the Baudeck's have set up an account at Wells Fargo bank under Jacob's name to collect money that will be used to buy rescue equipment for fire departments in rural Arizona across the state.