Earlier this month, University of British Columbia medical student Melissa Creelman, 32, received an upsetting phone call from her Yaletown condo building: The fire department was trying to break down her apartment door.
Before she could rush home, firefighters gained entry into the apartment. It was empty.
They explained that they were responding to a 911 call made from inside the apartment, something Creelman swore was impossible considering she doesn’t have a land line and her cell phone was with her at school when the incident occurred.
Somehow her Internet and cable line made the call without her.
“How can this ghost line call 911 and then hang up?” she told the Province. “If this happened to me, who’s to say it won’t happen to someone else?
Creelman called Telus with questions regarding the phantom phone call. At first, she received no answers.
"They all wanted to skirt around the topic," Creelman told CTV Vancouver.
"…They basically pointed fingers at each other. And at the end of the day, I felt I was getting brushed off."
Frustrated that no one was explaining how her house called 911, she took the strange story to the media.
Finally, Telus offered an explanation.
The company assigns a phone number with its cable and Internet packages, even when no phone service is ordered. This number is used as an identification number and helps Telus locate the home.
“According to Telus spokesperson Shawn Hall, there was a human error: a customer of another telecommunications company had misprogrammed a switchboard number with Creelman’s phone number,” reported CTV Vancouver.
Telus apologized for how the complaint was originally handled and offered to pay for the $1,000 needed in door and doorframe repairs.
“These kind of things are rare, but they do happen,” Hall told the Province. “When they do happen, we work with the 911 provider to investigate and if something needs to be fixed, we fix it.”
“If Telus infrastructure is in any way responsible and there’s a cost involved, we’ll pay for that.”
Crewman has accepted Telus’ apology — and told reporters that she was thankful 911 took the call seriously.
"At the end of the day, I’m glad they responded because if I was in my apartment unconscious or if someone was holding a gun to my head or any unusual circumstance that would cause a 911 hang-up call, I understand," she said.