Dispatcher’s misdial rings Gastonia residents at 4:30 a.m.

A emergency dispatcher’s misdial accidentally called hundreds of homes in Gastonia at 4:30 a.m. with the message that there was a two-alarm fire.

The mix-up came as the city’s fire department was responding to two fire calls at nearly the same time in the early morning hours Saturday: one at an apartment on Barkely Street and the other on Black Oak Drive.

Knowing the two fires would stretch the department’s resources thin, a commander radioed to dispatch and asked for word to go out to off-duty officials that their help might be needed. Instead, the dispatcher rang the wrong group and accidentally called all Gastonia residents. The call went out at 4:38 a.m. Saturday.

The Gastonia Fire Department apologized Monday for the mistake.