Phone Alarm Flops While Fire and Subscriber Burn

Phone Alarm Flops While Fire and Subscriber Burn

A gas heater flared up in the Trenton, N. J., shop of the Leader Photo Engraver on January 21st. Mrs. Atlanta Gautier, at the scene, followed the instructions printed in the front of the telephone directory and dialed the operator.

She started out excitedly, “I want to report a fire. . .” The telephone operator told her to call Information to obtain the number. Mrs. Gautier explained to the operator that there was a fire in the shop and requested connection to the fire department. She received the same reply, “Call Information and she will give you the number.”

Dialing Information and repeating her request for the fire department she received the reply, “The number is Export 4-8181.” Again Mrs. Gautier explained the situation and again she was told the fire department number. Mrs. Gautier finally gave up. She dialed the number and four Trenton companies made short work of the fire.

A Bell Telephone spokesman said he was “amazed” at the occurrence. He said operators are trained to report fires immediately. Company officials said they had drawn a blank in their initial efforts to find the errant operators.

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