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Dispatcher discovers house on fire during 911 call

Posted November 17, 2011
Updated November 30, 2011

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— It was Monday afternoon in the Durham 911 Call Center when dispatcher April Hinesley froze in her seat.

The fire dispatcher next to her was taking a call that got her attention.

"The call originally came out as North Mill Springs/Fletchers Chapel (Road), and I said, 'Oh, I feel sorry for whoever's house that is. They're near me.'"

But then her co-worker double-checked the location.

""I looked at the girl and said, 'Did they just say 1738 Fletchers Chapel?'" Hinesley said. "(We) just made eye contact, and she looked at me, and I just started crying."

She was crying because it was her address. The first home she has ever owned was going up in flames.

Inside this home, which was filling with thick black smoke, were her two beloved dogs – one locked in a crate. As a co-worker raced her to the scene, she said, she could only pray firefighters would get to them in time.

April Hinesley home Dispatcher discovers house on fire during 911 call

"We got down there, and all the fire trucks and everyone else just blanked out to me. All I could see is two tails wagging," Hinesley said.

Bodie and Carmen were saved, but even after multiple baths, they still have a hint of fire in their fur. It's a reminder of how close they came to death had it not been for the team of dispatchers and fast-acting firefighters.

"If it wasn't for them, obviously, there's no way I would be able to even touch them again, kiss them," Hinesley said. "I'm so unbelievably thankful to them. They are heroes. They're my heroes."

Hinesley said she has a new appreciation for them and for the people on the other end of the 911 calls she handles.

Meanwhile, investigators are still looking into what caused the fire. Hinesley's house will have to be demolished.

12 Comments

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  • beachboater Nov 21, 2011

    I always like a happy ending!!

  • wildcat Nov 18, 2011

    So sorry that it had to be her home and to hear about it as a 911 operator. May all come together to help her. Pray for her also.

  • Scubagirl Nov 18, 2011

    I cannot imagine how she must have felt hearing that. So very glad her dogs were saved. It's a fear I have every day that something will happen to my house while I'm at work or away and the kittykids will be trapped. Dogs generally stay in the locked yard, but not the cats.
    Great to hear a 'sort of' happy ending to this.

  • avnvideo Nov 18, 2011

    glad the doggies were ok

  • carolinagal78 Nov 18, 2011

    Awesome story! We need to hear more heart warming stories w/all the bad ones that are happening lately. I'm glad her furbabies were saved. Thankful for the dispatch and firefighters who work hard every day.

  • amberfkirk Nov 18, 2011

    Great story!!!!

  • Wendellcatlover Nov 18, 2011

    You can rebuild a house...it's not a "home" without all the love and family ties. She can have a "home" anywhere. There are those who don't believe it, but animals are family members! I'm so glad these 2 are ok. Best of luck and many prayers to all of you!

    Lastly, thank you to all of the civil servants out there risking your lives on a daily basis for us!

  • TITAN4X4 Nov 18, 2011

    Prayers and best wishes.

  • Plum Tuckered Nov 17, 2011

    Bravo to those firefighters and Many Thanks to all First Responders who put their lives on the line for us!

  • foster208 Nov 17, 2011

    Thank you firefighters and EMS. You guys and gals are the best!!

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