Investigators trying to track down source of false 911 fire call

WEST ASHLEY SC (WCSC) - The Charleston County Sheriff's Office, St. Andrews and Charleston firefighters are trying to track down the source of a false 911 call.

St. Andrews firefighters were called early Thursday morning to a possible house on Elsey Drive in West Ashley.

When they got there they realized there was no fire. Firefighters also learned the call was not made by anyone at the house.

It turned out the call was bogus.

Cheryl Bennett operates a daycare across the street.

"I don't know why they would do that. That could cause a lot of chaos and a lot of worry," Bennett said.

"Oh yeah, that's pretty dangerous, not only for the firefighters but for everybody else," said Lamar Goude who lives on Elsey Drive.

Charleston County Consolidated 911 Director Jim Lake says the false call was made from a wireless phone which makes it difficult to find out where it came from.

Lake says the caller's phone number appeared on the screen, but when the operator called the number back it went straight to voice mail.

"And if someone is doing this to be funny, hope they get caught," Goude said.

Charleston police and fire investigators say they did catch the culprit in a separate case responsible for making at least eight false 911 fire calls on nearby Yew Street in West Ashley.

Police say Jahad Richardson made the calls in September and October of 2017.

Allison Lucky recalls firefighters coming back to the street over and over.

"They came several times a day. It was nerve wracking. it was upsetting because like there could be people hurt or they were wasting their time here," Lucky said.

Charleston Chief Fire Marshal Mike Julazadeh said there is another danger with false 911 calls.

He said the calls could put a big drain on resources and can take fire, EMS and police away from a real emergency.

Julazadeh says his agency will work with St. Andrews firefighters and the 911 call center to try to track down whoever made the call to the house on Elsey Drive.

Jahad Richardson is out on bond on his charges.

Investigators have not said if he is a suspect in Thursday morning's incident.

The penalties for misuse of 911 carry a sentence of up to six months in prison and a $200 fine.

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