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Warren Co. emergency dispatchers foil suicide, avert potential gas explosion

Warren County Sheriff Bud York describes to county Supervisors Feb. 21 how fast, clever action by emergency dispatchers Scott Combs and Brian Engle of Warrensburg, Butch Lagoy of Bolton and Linda Ellis of Lake Luzerne averted a suicide attempt of a Glens Falls man, and probably saved the lives of many by preventing a large-scale explosion from occurring.

Warren County Sheriff Bud York describes to county Supervisors Feb. 21 how fast, clever action by emergency dispatchers Scott Combs and Brian Engle of Warrensburg, Butch Lagoy of Bolton and Linda Ellis of Lake Luzerne averted a suicide attempt of a Glens Falls man, and probably saved the lives of many by preventing a large-scale explosion from occurring. Photo by Thom Randall.

— Thrust into an emergency situation with potentially disastrous consequences, Warren County emergency dispatchers took quick, savvy action recently to avert mass loss of life, authorities said this week.

The dispatchers collaborated to foil a man’s apparent suicide attempt — and

County Sheriff Bud York, speaking to county Supervisors May 21, praised the county communications officers for their clever, well-coordinated actions under duress.

On Feb. 7, dispatcher Scott Combs of Warrensburg received a 911 call from a Glens Falls man threatening suicide.

Authorities said the call was via a cell phone. The man was threatening to take his life and was making the call to let people know where his body could be found.

Combs spent a considerable amount of time talking to him, trying to convince him to let someone help him, York said. Meanwhile, dispatchers Brian Engle of Warrensburg, Butch Lagoy of Bolton and Linda Ellis of Lake Luzerne contacted various phone carriers in an attempt to locate the man, who refused to give his location to Combs.

The called was tracked to a approximate location through triangulating wireless broadcast signals. Glens Falls police responded to the area, and intermittently sounded a patrol car siren, and a dispatcher listening on the 911 call was able to help direct the officers to the right house by detecting when the siren noise grew louder.

Authorities said that Glens Falls police officers knocked on the man’s door, and those knocks were even heard over the phone. The officers then forced the door open and entered the house. Authorities said a gas stove had been turned on, the house was full of its explosive fumes, and the caller was found under a blanket covered with a tarp.

York said Glens Falls firefighters ventilated the home to prevent an explosion, and the man was sent to the Glens Falls Hospital’s behavioral health unit.

York said this week that their fast, clever actions saved not only the man’s life, but probably prevented the destruction of a neighborhood due to an explosion of the natural gas.

“I am extremely impressed with the communications officers’ teamwork,” York told county Supervisors at their monthly meeting Feb. 21. “They not only saved this guy’s life, but they saved the whole residential area.”

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