Dispatcher discovers house on fire during 911 call
Posted November 17, 2011
Updated November 30, 2011
Durham, N.C. — 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.
"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.