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911 dispatchers suspended pending probe into fatal fire

Authorities are investigating whether there was confusion with dispatching the proper fire department when the fire was first reported

The Citizens' Voice

LUZERNE COUNTY, Pa. — Following a house fire in Mocanaqua that killed 52-year-old Michelle Dzoch, two 911 dispatchers have been suspended without pay, pending an upcoming hearing.

Paula Schnelly, president of the local American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees chapter, in an emailed statement Monday, said, “Two dispatchers were suspended without pay pending a formal hearing with the County, Union, and affected employee(s) present.”

Authorities are investigating whether there was confusion with dispatching the proper fire department when the fire in Mocanaqua was first reported.

“It is my understanding that an investigation is taking place, and the Union is not aware, at this time, of the county’s findings or of any outside agencies involvement,” Schnelly said.

According to Schnelly, no date has been scheduled yet for a formal hearing between Luzerne County and union representatives, as well as the affected employees.

“The Union awaits the conclusion of the investigation into the matter, and we await receiving that information prior to the scheduling of any hearing(s),” Schnelly said in her statement.

John Emmert, Public Safety Answering Point manager, on Monday said the investigation is still ongoing and he could not comment on personnel matters.

Following the blaze, which broke out at 10:50 a.m. Thursday at 76 Main St., Mocanaqua, Conyngham Township, Luzerne County Coroner Bill Lisman pronounced Dzoch dead on scene and later ruled her death was accidental and caused by carbon monoxide poisoning.

Copyright 2014 The Citizens' Voice

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

All Rights Reserved

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