In 911 call, worker fears for Josh Powell's sons

Published:

PUYALLUP, Wash. (AP) -- A 911 recording reveals a social worker's attempts in a more than six-minute phone call to get a dispatcher to send authorities quickly to the home of Josh Powell after he locked himself and his two sons in the home he then set ablaze.

The social worker seemed to try repeatedly to relay the gravity of what was going on to dispatchers. Josh Powell was scheduled for a supervised visit with his sons Sunday. Authorities said he locked the door, used a hatchet on his kids, and lit the house on fire, killing all inside.

In the first minutes of the 911 call, the woman laid out the situation briefly, then asked, "What should I do? .... Nothing like this has ever happened before at these visitations. ... I could hear one of the kids crying, and he still wouldn't let me in."

The dispatcher at one point asked the social worker what address she was at. The social worker didn't know and needed to look for it. It took her about 1 ½ minutes to find it in her car. At one point she asks, "You can't find me by GPS?" While she's still looking for the address she says, "But I think I need help right away."

The woman also explained that she smelled gasoline, saying four minutes into the call that the boys have been locked in the home for 10 minutes.

After six minutes on the call, a dispatcher says: "We'll have somebody look for you there."

"OK, how long will it be?" the woman asks.

"I don't know, ma'am. We have to respond to emergency life-threatening situations first. The first available deputy ..."

The woman responded: "This could be life-threatening ... I'm afraid for their lives."

After the home erupted in flames, the woman screamed in a separate call: "He exploded the house!"