The response to an early Friday morning fire in Lakewood may have been delayed by a misdirected 911 call.

Home on Stirling Avenue home in Lakewood after a fire
Home on Stirling Avenue home in Lakewood after a fire (

The Asbury Park Press reports a call made at 2:11AM using a cell phone by someone who was "hysterical" and speaking in "broken English" was directed to neighboring Howell where firefighters were dispatched to Somerset Avenue in Lakewood.

Firefighters quickly realized they were at the wrong home and found the correct home 2 blocks away on Sterling Avenue.

“This is the first time that I can remember something like that happening,” Lakewood Fire Chief Todd Stark told the Asbury Park Press . “I don’t know if the person called Howell or what happened. In the past we might have an issue when it comes to a surrounding town like Brick or Toms River, but never when it is in the center of town.”

The family that lived at the home remains unidentified. An 8 year old boy is still hospitalized at Monmouth Medical Center for burns and smoke inhalation while an autopsy will be performed on his 6 year old brother who was pronounced dead at Kimball Medical Center in Lakewood shortly after the fire broke out.


The US Department of Transportation has been working to improve the routing of 911 calls made from cell phones with Next Generation 911 to better equip dispatch centers to handle text messages and Skype and locate cell phone callers.


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