Dispatchers’ home catches fire while taking 911 calls at work

SUFFOLK, Va. —Suffolk dispatcher Barbara Hughes spends her nights helping people and talking them through traumatic situations.

Barbara Hughes

When she picked up the phone on Thursday around 1:30 a.m. she had no idea she would be the one that needed help.

While she was at work, a fire broke out in her home.

Putting fear and emotion aside, Hughes, a dispatcher for 20 years, still carried out her job and dispatched the call out to the appropriate responders and fire personnel.

When she arrived in her front yard she saw her house completely up in flames. Officers later confirmed that her three dogs, Izzy, Kodi and Riley, died inside the burning home.

Friends and fellow dispatchers started a GoFundMe page to help her get back on her feet.

The organizer of the page wrote, "Barbara Hughes is not just a dispatcher, she is our family, our friend, and a community hero for what she does on a daily basis. In this family we fight together, and we take care of our own.  And, at times like this sometimes even a hero needs a hero."

An emotional Hughes told WTKR she's shocked by the support.

“The help has been extremely wonderful. These people are coming together...that don’t even know me," she said. "I just can’t believe that they’re doing this.”

The fire was called under control around 2:30 a.m.

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