Lafayette 911 Dispatcher & Firefighters Credited with Saving Woman
There is a program that airs on the Oxygen True Crime Channel that details the 911 calls that come into a 911 call center just outside of Cleveland. These calls detail all kinds of things from shootings and stabbings to reports of naked people walking down the street. It's compelling.
But terrifying is probably a better description of what a Lafayette woman had to deal with last week when her house caught on fire. She told the dispatcher, "I'm going to burn to death."
The whole house on Gerald Drive in Lafayette was completely consumed by fire. The two people who live there were able to get out of the home, but the woman decided to go back inside to get her pets.
Once the woman was inside, the smoke and fire were all-consuming. She couldn't find her pets so she decided to retreat into a bedroom and close the door. She was trapped. That's when the woman called 911, and dispatcher Shawnee Prejean picked up the call.
Prejean says she kept repeatedly asking the woman the same questions over and over to keep her engaged in conversation while firefighters were working to get into the burning home to rescue her. Prejean says she worked to try to keep the woman as calm as possible even when the woman burst out with, "I'm going to die".
Prejean says she knew she had to keep the woman calm. Prejean told our news partners at KATC,
......I asked the same questions over to get her to give me a good answer. Which room are you in? Can you tell me which bedroom you're in? She was able to tell me she was in the back bedroom near the shed, and that was the piece of information I needed to get to the crews on the ground.
While Prejean says this is just her job, and it's what she does, she says she also thinks there was a higher power helping out during this situation.
Prejean says she was able to guide firefighters to the room where the woman was, and they were able to safely get her out of the home.
Lafayette fire officials remind us that it's never a good idea to return to a burning structure once you have reached safety.
Acadiana: Do We Really Know How to Prevent Fire Deaths?