Couple encounters problems with 911

On Sunday afternoon, July 6, at the conclusion of the Car Show in the Elkins City Park at 4 p.m., we experienced a little problem with our 1957 Chevrolet.

Figuring it was just a choke sticking and would be OK once it ran a little, we started home. At the traffic light at the intersection of 219/250 in Elkins turning toward Parsons, we think a small engine backfire ignited the oil bath in the carburetor and we noticed smoke coming from up front. We immediately pulled over to safety. We got our small fire extinguisher and used it, but could not get the fire completely out.

After running to our other car and using up the extinguisher from it, we still had fire. At least three or four other people stopped with their small extinguishers, to no avail. An Elkins City Police officer pulled up with a big extinguisher. Guess what: his was empty.

All of this time, our friends who were immediately following behind us were dialing 911 and the emergency squad, to no avail. Several people from Ohio and Virginia in our crowd trying to help had no response from 911. Our friends, after 13 “no answer” calls, called their son, asking him to call landline 911, and he made contact. The response was they weren’t aware cell phone service was interrupted. Anyhow, after 20 minutes, the Fire Department arrived and extinguished the fire.

My question is: we were in site of the Fire Department, approximately 400 yards away. Is the 911 Center that badly operated?

An Elkins City policeman came into our store after hearing about my car. Quote: “The Randolph County Center is a joke.” A friend from Beverly stated, “I hope you didn’t try to call Randolph County 911, you won’t get through.” An Elkins business person: “You can’t get our 911.”

Please, my wife and I aren’t mad at anyone. We have no axe to grind, but for the sake or life or death by fire – to the most helpful people in the world – please fix 911.

Our sincere thanks to all those who tried to help.

Betty and Ren Adkins