Family calling 911 during storm couldn't get through

Published: Jul. 11, 2013 at 8:21 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 25, 2013 at 10:35 PM EDT
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Zackery Foree (Source: Family photo)
Zackery Foree (Source: Family photo)
The tree limb that fell on Zackery.
The tree limb that fell on Zackery.
Jody Duncan
Jody Duncan

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - An overwhelming number of calls to 911 during Wednesday's storm meant the person calling for the boy hit by a tree limb couldn't get through.

Zackery Foree, 13, was died Wednesday night at Kosair Children's Hospital

Foree's street looks nearly the same as it did before the storms moved in Wednesday afternoon. But if you look a little closer, traces linger from the tragedy the teenager's family and his entire neighborhood deal with now. Neighbors said he was with his younger brother when the storm began. The brother made it home safely, but Zackery did not.

Not knowing he was trapped under a tree, his family tried to call 911 to report Foree missing.

"We did have a citizen that had called 911 and because those lines were inundated wasn't able to get through on that first ring," explained Jody Duncan, a MetroSafe spokesperson.

Duncan said they typically have 11 dispatchers on duty during that time of day. Wednesday they staffed with 14 knowing the storms in the forecast.

In the 15 minutes during the time the call about Foree missing was made, Duncan said 198 other people called too, mainly for downed trees and power lines.

"We probably made collectively 150 trees down and wires down runs yesterday," said Duncan.

Compared to the same time period last week, those 14 dispatchers took 145 more calls, but no one got a busy signal.

"If we are inundated with calls, it will tell you please don't hang up," said Duncan. "Please wait. We'll have someone with you right away."

When the caller looking for help for Foree couldn't get through, they called St. Matthews police directly.

"St. Matthews Police Department then dispatched their officers to the scene," Duncan said. "It originally came in as a missing person report. I know a family was looking for their son."

By the time St. Matthews police arrived neighbors had found Foree under the tree limb with barely a pulse. He died later that night.

It was a true emergency. Not the same for many of the other calls of trees that had fallen. A reminder if you call 911 make sure you need 911.

Duncan said the next time a storm rolls in you can call their non-emergency line or call MetroCall at 311 if it happens during business hours. The dispatchers respond to those calls after all the 911 calls.

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