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Dispatcher Receives Call About Her Own House on Fire

Author: Natalie Potts/via

Date: 2012-09-20
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An emergency dispatcher in Brownsville, Tennessee received a 9-1-1 phone call while on duty stating her house was on fire.

Dispatcher Cherry Drake who has worked for Haywood County Emergency Dispatch for four years. While she is used to taking emergency calls from residents who are in desperate situations, it was a shock to get a call from her 17-year-old son reporting that their own house was on fire.  

"I couldn't even speak my words out of my mouth," Drake told WBBJTV’s 7 Eyewitness News.  "The other dispatcher, she helped me finish the call."

Haywood County dispatch Director Starla Singleton (pictured, right) told 7 Eyewitness News this is the first time an operator has taken a serious personal call there but it is every employee's biggest fear.

Drake's son said the fire started because he fell asleep while cooking french fries. Fire officials have declared the home a total loss. After losing everything, Drake said she is happy that her son made it out of the house alive.

Drake said she is now glad that she was the operator to take the call, but it will be tough returning back to work. "I'll be thinking if this is going to be my call again," said Drake," but it's not because he's not going to cook anymore."

If you would like to help, the Brownsville Dispatch Center is accepting donations. Contact Director Starla Singleton with Brownsville-Haywood County Central Dispatch. Call (731) 722-1215 or email here.   The Dispatch Center is located at 100 South Dupree in Brownsville, Tn 38012.

For further information, see 911cares which has activated a support notice on behalf of Drake.

For full story and a video report, see

- People, Places & Things/ (via & WBBJTV, 9/15/12)


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