RIDGEVILLE, S.C. (WCIV) - A Dorchester County spokesperson says the average response time for the town of Ridgeville is six minutes, but a family in the middle of an emergency Saturday night said that wait was much closer to 30 minutes.
Sixteen-year-old Bradley Allen suffers from a genetic disorder and is autistic. His parents, Tamara and Aaron Allen, have filled their Bridlewood Farms home with toys to keep their non-verbal son stimulated.
On Saturday, it wasn't the alarm of a machine that sounded, but a mother's instinct that something was wrong with her child.
"When he was grabbing at our faces, as a mother, you know your child's scared when they look at you and tears were running down his face," said Tamara Allen.
The Allens called 911. A Dorchester County EMS station is located only a few miles away, but the unexpected happened.
"To find out that a 911 truck was disabled mechanically in some way and couldn't get here is a frustrating situation," said Aaron Allen.
As time passed, Bradley's parents became increasingly worried for their son. In a panic, they chose to drive toward the interstate, calling 911 again to set up a meeting place.
"When we got to the Carters by the interstate, I said, 'We are stopping now. You have two seconds or we are on our way again,'" said Tamara Allen. "That's when the emergency vehicles pulled up."
Nearly 30 minutes had elapsed since the initial call.
"If this happened again, I wouldn't dial 911. I would go ahead and transport him ourselves where we need to take him," said Aaron Allen.
The Bridlewood Farm subdivision is new and expanding. County officials say a new EMS and fire station is in the works and should be completed within the year.
"When we first moved in, we were told we would have an onsite EMS fire station built. That was discussed in 2009 and here it is 2013," said Aaron Allen.
Dorchester County officials declined to comment on the story.
As for Bradley Allen, he is fine. Doctors said he was dehydrated after battling the norovirus.