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A police dispatcher and several firefighters came in for special commendation Monday night from the Paris City Council for collaborating to rescue a woman trapped in a burning house.
Paris firefighters overfilled the council chambers, showing up in full dress regalia to add their own recognition of the recognition being given their colleagues.
Foreman, 40, fielded a 9-1-1 call about noon on Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2013, from a woman who said her residence at 1149 6th St. NE was on fire, and she was trapped in a back room.
Foreman immediately dispatched the fire department to the fire, which was about a half mile south and east of the city’s main fire station.
“Protocol would have been to hang up, but Foreman kept her on the phone, found out where she was in the house, and told her to get low, beneath the smoke,” Police Chief Bob Hundley said.
Within two minutes of the call, firefighters were on the scene.
While enroute, Fire Chief Larry Wright said, Foreman alerted firefighters that there was a trapped occupant in the house, located about one block south of Martin Luther King Drive.
“She had told the dispatcher what part of the house she was in, and he relayed it to the fire crew. He kept her on the line until she actually went unconscious,” Wright said.
By the time firefighters arrived, they had also been informed by Foreman that the woman was now unconscious in a back room of the residence.
Dority and Humphrey deployed a hose line and entered the structure, extinguishing flames as they made their way to the woman in a back bedroom.
Meanwhile, Unruh was breaking through an exterior door at the back of the house.
“The doorway was blocked with a dresser and television and other furniture, so they literally had to physically breach that door to get entry. They didn’t want to drag her out through the fire,” Wright said.”Dority and Humphrey quickly located the unconscious Ms. Cole and moved her to the doorway that Unruh was breaching,” Wright told the council.
At least two more firefighters and two police officers and EMS personnel assisted in getting Cole medical treatment. She was taken to the emergency room of Paris Regional Medical Center for smoke inhalation and later was transferred to a Dallas hospital.
“The dispatchers in the 9-1-1 center are like the hub of a wheel. The call comes to them first and goes out the spokes to the emergency services,” the police chief added.
“Foreman did an outstanding job with the victim during the call. He maintained the connection with her, found out she was unable to get out of the house, identified where she was in the house, relayed that information to the responding firefighters, and talked her into getting close to the floor and under the smoke,” Hundley said.
“The victim stopped responding to him just a minute or so before the firemen were able to reach her and get her out,” Hundley said. “The stress that these dispatchers face every day when they have someone on the phone who is imminent peril is unbelievable.”
Council members praised everyone involved in the rescue.
“This makes me proud that I live in Paris,” an emotional City Councilwoman Cleonne Drake said. “I cannot say thank you enough.”
“Thank you for what you do,” City Councilman John Wright said.
“We’re very proud of you,” City Councilwoman Sue Lancaster said.
By Charles Richards, eParisExtra