TORONTO - The head of Toronto's emergency medical service says the city's current labour disruption is not to blame for a delay in responding to a 911 call about a downtown man, who later died.

EMS Chief Bruce Farr told a news conference today that the initial 911 call about the 50-year-old man did not indicate a "life-threatening" situation.

Ambulance workers responded within the usual time frame for such calls, he said.

Jim Hearst died from an apparent heart attack June 25.

Farr says the first 911 caller reported the man was "bleeding from his head" but made no mention of a heart problem.

While the ambulance arrived at the scene within nine minutes, Farr said the crew members were concerned about their own "health and safety" and waited for police to arrive.

He had no details about what the safety issues were.

Later calls indicated the man was not breathing, Farr said, and the crew put aside safety concerns to treat him.

"We are reviewing this call and will take appropriate action if required," Farr said.

Hearst's loved ones have complained that an ambulance did not come to his aid for about 30 minutes despite three calls to 911.

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