Boyertown Borough Fire Marshal Rick Smith said the Berks County dispatch center that responded to an unresponsive 9-1-1 call at the Boyertown Library on Aug. 5 followed correct protocol.

Initially, Smith had suggested the dispatcher's delay in calling fire departments was a determining factor in the dea th of 84-year-old Loah Whitmore.

Police reports stated the fire broke out from a second floor apartment, the home of Whitmore.

Whitmore was pronounced dead at the scene by Berks County Deputy Coroner William Hertzog at 2:01 p.m., almost two hours after the initial 9-1-1 call.

"I am no way pointing a finger at the Berks County communication center," Smith said in a phone interview Thursday.

If the 9-1-1 dispatcher receives an unresponsive emergency call, there is no way to know what the emergency is.

Boyertown Police Department Chief Barry Leatherman was the first to be contacted and respond to the scene, discovering "heavy smoke" and a trapped Whitmore.

"They [the communications center] received the 9-1-1 non-responsive phone call, they heard bells in the background and they immediately notified the police department," Smith said. "Had Berks not done anything with the call that would be one thing, but they handled it to the best of their ability."

In a press release from state police, the fire was ruled as accidental with no other injuries reported.

The report also stated the total estimate of damages would be $125,000, however Linda Famous, of the library board of directors, said Thursday that the library has yet to see a total for damages.

She said the board of directors hoped to reopen the library by Wednesday, Aug. 13.

Famous added the library is presently working with the Berks County Public Libraries organization , the county system that the library was a member of, to replentish their children's book supplies through the Reading Berks County Bookmobile collection.

She explained that the library had not been cleared by the borough code enforcement officer, but expecting someone to be at the library on Monday.

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