The call for help--"twin babies not breathing"--came in at 12:38 p.m. Sunday, and dispatcher Jonathan Wilkes' heart sank.
Tragedy is part of the job for those manning the 911 emergency network, but Wilkes said Sunday's call was something that no dispatcher gets used to.
"When it comes to anything with children or infants, there's just a soft spot," Wilkes, 28, said Monday. "And you realize how the guys pull together out there when you hear that a baby is involved."
One paramedic unit from the Garden Grove Fire Department was immediately dispatched. But moments later, Wilkes said, an Anaheim Fire Department unit leaving a minor structure fire radioed dispatchers and asked, "Can we respond?"
After the radio dispatch, Wilkes said, "everybody started heading over there."
In all, at least 15 members of both Anaheim and Garden Grove fire departments--including a battalion chief--arrived at the Euclid Street janitorial supply store where the 3-month-old twins were found not breathing in their mother's sweltering car.
The infant boy, Adam Ray, and his twin sister, Ashley Rachelle, never responded to paramedics' efforts, and they were pronounced dead upon arrival at two nearby hospitals, authorities said.
"We heard one of the medics en route to the hospital on the radio say it was an apparent coroner case," Wilkes said. "My partner Victor and I looked up the report from the paramedic unit after it was over to find out. . . . We didn't want to call and upset the paramedics anymore by having them rehash it.
"They were upset enough as it was."
"You've done your damnedest to get the closest people there so fast," said Wilkes, who's been dispatching calls for about 18 months.
"When you hear you lose them, it's always eating at the back of your mind that, you know, why did it have to end this way?"