Police released 911 calls that revealed a social worker’s frantic attempts to alert authorities that Josh Powell had locked himself in his home with his two young sons, moments before he set off a huge fire that killed all inside.
The 9-1-1 call demonstrates the final act of string of failure of services that should have recognized a problem with Josh Powell, and prevented the endangerment of Josh Powell’s sons, Charlie Powell and Braden Powell.
Police had received reports earlier in the day from Powell’s sister and attorney about suspicious behavior from Powell. Then a frantic 9-1-1 call for help involved a delayed response of emergency responders of at least seven minutes after a social worker brought Josh Powell’s sons to his house. Powell was a prime suspect in the disappearance of the son’s mother and his missing wife.
Neither Associated Press video above nor the ABC video below shows that the social worker was initially told (after reporting the smell of gasoline) that the call was not a priority.
Social Worker: But I think I need help right away, he’s [Josh Powell] on a very short leash with DSHS, and CPS has been involved. And this is the craziest thing … he looked right at me and closed the door.
Social Worker: And I would like to pull out of the driveway because I smell gasoline and he won’t let me in.
9-1-1 Call Taker: “I don’t know ma’am they [emergency responders] have to respond to life threatening emergencies first.” [ABC video leaves this part out].
Social Worker: Well this could be life threatening. He went to court on Wednesday and he didn’t get his kids back … and … I’m afraid for their lives.
He blew up the house and the kids … he slammed the door in my face … so I kept knocking and I thought it was a mistake …
The kids were one step ahead of me .. they’re 5 and 7 … they were one step ahead of me and he slamed the door in my face.
A locked-out CPS worker pleaded with a 911 operator to get police to the home because she feared for the two boys’ lives.