NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – 911 operators received a call from Riverbend Prison on Wednesday around 11:00 a.m. A white powder had been found in a suspicious package in the prison’s mail room.
Operators immediately dispatched the closest fire station, 19, but minutes later it still wasn’t en route.
“Has anyone been able to get ahold of District 19? I can’t get them on the air,” a dispatcher can be heard saying over police radio. “Employees are calling in. They got two that have had contact with a white powdery substance in the mail room. They have quarantined the building.”
911 operators had sent out a “silent dispatch” to several fire stations and to Hazmat crews as well, but the call wasn’t received.
A silent dispatch is when first responders receive information about an emergency electronically from 911 operators.
“I’m still getting units in route. It went out silently, so I’ve had to phone everybody,” said the dispatcher.
According to the Emergency Communications Center, the silent dispatch was not received by first responders due to an error. It is unclear what that error is at this time.