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Smoke concerns overwhelm dispatch centers in Utah



Salt Lake City, Utah — On Friday smoke confused people all over the Wasatch Front.

Dispatch centers received a lot of calls from people wondering if the smoke was the cause of a local fire.

According to Centerville Police Chief Paul Child, he’s never seen anything like it and once the calls started pouring in, his officers started checking for local fires all over the city.

“My officers came in and said ‘chief we’re getting a lot of calls on smoke the dispatch center is getting overwhelmed’ ” Child said.

It’s not known exactly how many calls dispatchers received but enough people called for dispatch to seriously consider bringing in backup.

“They were completely overwhelmed, they couldn’t keep up with the calls that were coming in, in fact, they were thinking about calling in extra dispatchers,” Child said.

Child called the National Weather Service to confirm the smoke was coming from wildfires in California.

He then sent a tweet saying “With a 911 center like that you only have a few people that are available to answer phones and it can overwhelm the system pretty quick.”

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