Dispatcher Helps Save Family Trapped In NW OKC House Fire

Monday, January 8th 2018, 5:44 pm
By: Dana Hertneky

A mother trapped in a burning house with her two kids makes a frantic 9-1-1 call.

“My ex-husband set our house on fire, smoke is everywhere. We can’t get out the front door or back,” the woman desperately told the 911 dispatcher.

Fortunately, the dispatcher on the phone was able to instruct her on how to stay alive until firefighters arrived.  

“We’re in the hallway, we’re in hallway,” the woman said initially. According to firefighter’s that’s one of the worst places you can be.

“Can you get to a bedroom?” asked Captain Dean Morris, the dispatcher on the other end of the line.

“Yes,” she relied. “I’m afraid he’s going to bust out the windows.”

“We know that if they can get in a room and close the door that’s the best chance of survival,” said Captain Morris Monday afternoon.

Captain Morris has handled thousands of fire calls in his seventeen years as a dispatcher but never had someone on the other end of the call who was trapped.

“If we wouldn’t have been able to coach her into getting to a room and close the door or if she wouldn’t just know that, the outcome could have been rough I’m afraid.”

“We’re in the bathroom, in the bathroom,” the woman told Morris as the home was filling up with smoke. 

“Okay, do you have the door closed?” he asked.

“Yes, we do,” she responded.

“Okay, grab some towels if you have them and put them under the door okay,” he told her.

Captain Morris was able to stay on the line as firefighters rushed to the scene.

“How is the smoke in there? Are you guys okay?” he asked

“The smoke is getting pretty tough” she said.

When firefighters arrived at the home on Key Place just before 1 a.m., flames were shooting from the front porch with the fire extending into the attic.  

Firefighters found the door bolted shut and had to force their way inside. But once there, they were able to find the woman and her kids waiting for them in that bathroom.

An EMSA spokesperson says they transported one person, non-emergency, to the hospital.

Arson investigators are working this case, but so far no one has been arrested.