Los Angeles fire officials said Friday they are investigating why it took paramedic units 15 minutes to respond to a call of a 16-year-old boy who collapsed last weekend while playing soccer at Wilmington Middle School and later died.
Although privacy laws prevented fire officials from releasing the teen's name or other information, Wilmington residents and obituary and coroner records identified the boy as Jesus Alonso Zambrano, a student at Lakewood High School who lived with his family in Carson.
"It took them about 17 1/2 minutes," said Nelson Rivas, who coached Jesus' Liverpool soccer team. "Throughout the whole time I was questioning where they were. We told them it was Wilmington Middle School and that should be easy to find."
Chief Coroner Investigator Craig Harvey said an autopsy was performed Wednesday, but the cause of Jesus' death was not immediately known, pending additional testing and studies.
Fire officials said they were unable to provide many details, but noted that callers had provided multiple addresses for the field and a second unit had to be sent to provide treatment.
"We received multiple calls with conflicting addresses," said Deputy Chief David Yamahata. "As it relates to this response, LAFD resources made contact 15 minutes after the call. This was largely due to getting the wrong address."
Wilmington Middle School is at 1700 Gulf Ave. The athletic field is situated on the corner of Lomita Boulevard and Bayview Avenue.
"It's very visible," the coach said. "There's only one middle school in Wilmington. I don't know why they would be confused."
Friends said Jesus played in a few soccer leagues, often at Banning High School. On Sunday, he was playing at the middle school and became ill during his second game.
Family members were not available for an interview Friday, but friends said he suffered chest pains, walked to the side of the field, held his chest, stopped breathing and collapsed.
Christopher Rivas, the coach's son, also was playing in the game and noticed when Jesus became sick.
"He laid on the ground. It seemed like he was tired," Christopher said. "When I went toward him, he told me he was dizzy. Thirty seconds later, his eyes started rolling back a little. He started shaking."
Jesus' father performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation as the coach and other callers tried to summon the Fire Department.
"I talked to the dad and one of the parents," said family friend Socorro Gonzalez. "Apparently they said the response time was a long time."
When paramedics arrived, they immediately put Jesus on a gurney and into an ambulance, the coach said.
Jesus was pronounced dead at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Harbor City.
"A lot of us complained that it took so long for them to get there," the coach said. "Everybody is grieving. All the kids witnessed the whole event unfold. They are struggling with the whole thing. Who knows if Jesus would have been saved had they gotten there earlier?"
Yamahata did not go into details of treatment, other than to say paramedics performed normal procedures and transported the teen to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Yamahata said the delay pointed to the need for callers to the 911 system to provide accurate locations so firefighters and paramedics are able to respond quickly.
The department has been under criticism for the amount of time it takes to respond to emergency calls and for conflicting information given to the public on response times.
Earlier this month, Fire Chief Brian Cummings said part of the problem was due to several years of budget cuts that reduced the number of staff to respond to emergency calls.
Yamahata said the entire incident, from the calls to the response, is under investigation.
Gonzalez said Jesus had visited the family home in Lakewood of banda singer Jenni Rivera, who died two weeks ago in a plane crash in Mexico.
"He mentioned, `Wow, she died doing what she loved doing. I want to die that way,"' Gonzalez said.
Jesus was the oldest of his parents' four children.
"It's really, really tragic and sad," Gonzalez said. "He was a healthy kid. Active. Bike riding. Soccer. He was in love with soccer. Always wanted to play soccer. For this to happen, we're all very shocked about it."
Viewing is scheduled for noon to 5 p.m. Sunday at Funeraria del Angel McNerney's Mortuary, Wilmington. Services are scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Monday at the mortuary.