Davis v. Messer

In response to a fire at their house just outside of Waynesville, North Carolina, the Davis family called 9-1-1 to request assistance.

The dispatcher verified the location of the residence and contacted the Waynesville Fire Department to confirm that whether the fire was within its jurisdiction. The firefighter taking the call assured the dispatcher that the fire department would respond.

Upon nearing the home, the fire chief canceled the response when responders realized that the house stood .4 miles outside of its jurisdiction despite already being in view of the house.

This action on the part of the Waynesville Fire Department caused the fire to burn without restraint for an additional 15 to 20 minutes.

During this time, the Davis family could have sought other means of assistance had they not been relying on the Waynesville Fire Department to respond.

Ultimately, the home was destroyed, and the city and fire chief were found liable.