Sep 24, 2015 5:04 PM

NH1 News Investigates 911 We Can't Find You: Emergency responders do not recognize one NH town

GOFFSTOWN – Calling 911 should be something people can count on - but in one New Hampshire town, there is one word you may have to include if you want them to find you.

The statewide 911 system is designed to be as easy as possible. Just dial three numbers, right?

But it is much difficult than you think for residents in the Pinardville section of Goffstown.

Last Tuesday, fire broke out at Kelly Crowley’s home in Pinardville and left a trail of devastation and destruction behind.

“I was out of my mind because I've never experienced anything like this before,” Kelly said.

She called 911 and told the dispatcher she lived here at 10 Elmwood Avenue.

So firefighters responded to 10 Elmwood Avenue in Manchester.


Because Kelly forgot to say one word during that 911 call – Goffstown.

We asked her if that ever crossed her mind to say it. She replied, It didn't cross my mind. Being in a panic, I mean the last thing I'm going to think of is which town you're in.”

It would be 10 minutes before firefighters got to her house even though there's a Goffstown fire station less than 2 minutes away.

Just weeks before this, another 911 mix-up.

This time, just a half mile away from Kelly’s house at 10 Plummer Street where William “Bill” Chauvette lives.

We asked him how long he’s lived there. “40 years,” he replied.

Then we asked him where he lived? Did he consider it Goffstown or Manchester?

His reply?

“I live in Goffstown but I have a Manchester mailing address,” Bill said.

We told him we were a little confused. His response? “So am I.”

But he was being serious.

A few weeks back he remembers taking his medication one minute and then chocking the next.

“Oh, I was scared,” he said. There's no doubt about that. I was definitely scared.”

His daughter called 911 but once again, the caller didn’t say the word ‘Goffstown.’

“The ambulance never got to the patient's location,” said Fire Chief Richard O’Brien. “They went to the ambulance location.”

Bill’s daughter ran next door to get help and firefighters saved her dad.

Once again, another situation where there are 2 Plummer Streets with one in Goffstown and one in Manchester.

So we wanted to know how could this be happening?

In all, there are 31 streets in Pinardville with similar names in neighboring Manchester and all have the same zip code.

If you live on one of them, the 911 call center in Concord is trained to direct first responders to Manchester unless the caller specifies the emergency is happening in Goffstown.

“We could be just a phone call away from a tragedy here,” says Chief O’Brien.

The problem dates back decades.

It was back in 20-12 that many Pinardville business owners overwhelmingly told the Post Office they wanted to keep their Manchester zip code.

So according to the USPS, it won’t be another 10 years before they take up the issue again.

But both Kelly and Bill agree, something has to be done now.

“Something's gotta’ change,” Bill says. “They have to have a better system.”

“Are you worried about business or postal?” asks Kelly. Or are you worried about peoples' life?”

Tomorrow, we speak with local leaders and one of them tell us a tragedy will most likely happen before changes are made.

We also take you to the Board of Selectmen’s meeting where town leaders are working to make changes.


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