Fall River dispatcher fired after arson investigation

Jeffery Augiar, Kristopher Cabral

By News Staff


A Fall River Fire Department dispatcher has been terminated for failing to adhere to protocol during the fire at the Coughlin School on August 22nd.

Police say the dispatcher received a "trouble" signal on the fire alarm control panel and did not create a call or send an engine company to investigate–a violation of the department’s standard procedure.

The historic school was heavily damaged in the fire, which took over three hours for crews to extinguish. Investigation revealed it was an act of arson, and that two people, identified as Kristopher Cabral and Jeffery Aguiar, had broken into the school earlier that morning. They have since been arrested for breaking and entering.

The review of the incident revealed that when suspects left the school that day, they appeared to have left a door unsecured or open. A witness also claimed to have heard "beeping," a result of the door left open. Police say the break-in and smoldering fire would have been discovered if the dispatcher followed protocol and sent an engine company to investigate.                                                                                          

As a result, the dispatcher has been fired from the Fall River Police Department. Chief Daniel S. Racine stated, “We have policies, protocols and procedures for a reason, these protocols must be adhered to. We take a violation of this protocol seriously, as evidenced by this competent investigation and disposition.”

© WLNE-TV 2015