Frustration follows call for help in far north Fort Worth




Posted on September 17, 2012 at 11:38 PM

Updated Tuesday, Sep 18 at 11:02 AM

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FORT WORTH — Four-year-old Jude Ortiz is back home recovering after a close call. Paramedics rushed him to the hospital early Sunday morning after he stopped breathing.

"His fingers and toes started turning blue, so I went to his dad and I said, 'Hey, I think we need to call 911,'" said Jude's mother, Jennifer Ortiz.

On the phone with 911, Jennifer Ortiz asked for the Roanoke Fire Department to assist because it is the closest fire station to her home, about three miles away. 

But Roanoke didn't respond. Why? The Ortiz family lives in the Chadwick Farms subdivision.  And while their mailing address is in Roanoke, they are residents of the City of Fort Worth. 

They had to wait for the Fort Worth Fire Department and MedStar to respond.

"I hung up when the [Fort Worth] fire department  arrived, and it had been 14 minutes," Ortiz said.

MedStar showed up shortly after that.  

The Fort Worth Fire Department told News 8 it arrived nine minutes after being dispatched. 

MedStar told us its crew arrived in 13 minutes. 

The average response to the subdivision is 10 to 11 minutes.

"I don't have a complaint with them," said Ortiz. "It's just there needs to be a better response time."

Roanoke and Fort Worth do not have a mutual aid agreement. The City of Roanoke turned down a plan to expand MedStar coverage in the area two years ago.

Roanoke's City Manager Jimmy Strathatos offered this written answer to a question from News 8 about the issue:

"Typically, we will not respond to public safety calls outside of our jurisdiction unless we have a formal agreement authorizing us to do so... We are absolutely willing to discuss this issue with other cities so we can provide services without expecting Roanoke residents to subsidize the financial impact."

Ortiz's message to all parties involved is simple: Do something.  She said lives are on the line.

"It needs to be done that we are putting people first and not the financial situation, not the politicians, not all the background we don't know about," she said. "It's an emergency.  Every minute, every second counts."