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FROM READERS: Listen to scanner traffic from the University Village walkway collapse

Tuesday, February 25, 2014 | 2:08 p.m. CST; updated 3:33 p.m. CST, Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Reader Brad Wilmot works as a dispatcher for the Truman Veterans Hospital. This video is an edited version of about two hours' worth of scanner activity from early Saturday morning, when a walkway at University Village apartments collapsed. Lt. Bruce Britt died from injuries sustained during the rescue efforts. (Read his obituary here.)

Wilmot sent us the file of scanner activity, and we asked him to give a technical explanation of how he captured and edited the audio. Read his explanation here, and play the embedded YouTube clip to listen to the audio.

I have a scanner set to scan the city and country fire and EMS channels connected to a dedicated computer in the rack that streams the audio to RadioReference and also records the audio to the local hard drive. When there is an event that I want to save, I retrieve the files from that computer, edit them in Audacity, and either drop them into a video like this one, or just save them as MP3 files, if they’re short enough. I keep 30 days' worth of traffic, and I think RadioReference keeps the same amount. If you have a radio scanner app for your smartphone and tune it to Boone County Fire/EMS, you’re listening to my scanner.

I’ve done this for almost 20 years, and it’s still what I love.

The recorder missed a good deal of traffic because of the distance from the scene and the low power of the handheld radios on the fireground channel.

Audio on this radio is a bit fuzzy due to the antenna on the scanner being inside. Once it warms up a bit, I’ll be trying to cobble up some moolah to get a new antenna and get it up on the roof for better reception.

In terms of what you'll hear in this video: At 11:24, command advises that “extrication is complete,” but there was no traffic captured that details anything that happened before. (Not that this is necessarily a bad thing… I’ve heard “firefighter down” on the radio before when I was a dispatcher in Canton, MO, and hope to never hear it again, especially live.)

This story is part of a section of the Missourian called From Readers, which is dedicated to your voices and your stories. We hope you'll consider sharing. Here's how. Supervising editor is Joy Mayer.


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