Authorities investigate 911 response to Josh Powell’s home before explosion


The authorities are investigating the dispatcher's handling of the call in which a visitation supervisor was seeking help before Puyallup, Washington father Josh Powell killed his two boys and himself in his house.

Logs show that it took eight minutes for the 911 dispatcher to send a police car and another 13 minutes for the police car to get to the scene, by which time the Powell house was engulfed in flames, Fox News reported.

"At this point, we're doing a full investigation," said Tom Orr, director of the Law Enforcement Support Agency, which operates the Pierce County 911 center. "Seconds count in what we do. Lives depend on that. We get that, and we're all about trying to be the best at what we do."

Powell, a suspect in the 2009 disappearance of his wife Susan Cox-Powell, had recently lost a custody battle over his two children, and a court ordered him to undergo psychological testing, CNN reported.

Among the concerns were suspicions he possessed child pornography.

Last Sunday, a Washington state Child Protective Services officer dropped off Powell's two children for a supervised visit.

Powell brought his children inside, locked the door, and his home exploded. A fire engulfed the building and burned it to the ground. 

More from GlobalPost: Washington man blows up his house, killing his children and himself

Beforehand, Powell had reportedly sent an email to his attorney on Sunday that said, "I'm sorry. Goodbye."

According to Fox, the visitation supervisor — who had smelled gas after Powell locked himself in the house with his two sons — spent several minutes Sunday trying to convince the dispatcher to send a deputy to the home.

The dispatcher told the visitation supervisor that "life-threatening situations come first."

"This could be life-threatening," she said in the 911 tape from last Sunday. "He was in court on Wednesday and he didn't get his kids back and this is, really, I`m afraid for their lives."

According to the Associated Press, the recordings showed that the man who took the 911 call engaged in nearly seven minutes of questioning that ended with him saying he didn't know how long it would be before deputies could arrive.

The priority of the dispatch Sunday was "routine" instead of "emergency." 

The World Listener Survey 2024

We’d love to hear your thoughts on The World. Please take our 5-min. survey.