LITTLE ROCK (KATV) - Sunday night on Arthur Lane, a fire quickly turned a house to ash.
The family, unable to find the key to a dead-bolted door, escaped through a window as neighbors furiously dialed 911, but for 85 seconds ringing is the only thing they heard.
In 85 seconds, the flames in a fire can double in size.
This was the second fire in the area that night and dispatchers were busy, but according to Sgt. Cassandra Davis, staffing was not a problem.
"There were at least nine people in the room. There were 3 individuals working as call takers, but that doesn't mean the others can't answer phones as well. At times it may become a problem, but in this instance it was not a problem," said Davis.
As neighbors heard ring after ring, some worried their phone was the problem. Others dialed, hung up, dialed again and were angry by the time a dispatcher answered.
"There's two houses down from me. One's on fire and it's moving to the next house. We have been trying to get through to 911 for 15 minutes. I need somebody now," complained one caller. "I'm telling you, if someone doesn't get down here quick. This is ridiculous, it's moving to the next house and to the next house."
Little Rock does not have a time standard for answering a 911 call. Davis said 85 seconds is not too long, but acknowledged it can feel longer in an emergency.
From the time of the first call began to ring to the time the fire department arrived at the fire was 10 minutes. Because of the other fire, a station had to be called from farther away.