OCEAN SPRINGS, Miss. (WLOX) - In Knoxville, Tennessee, the phone rang at an ADT dispatch office, alerting dispatchers that an Ocean Springs home may be in trouble. The call went like this:
Home owner: This is Samantha.
Dispatcher: Good morning this is ADT security. My name is Katie. We have received a fire alarm. It’s coming from the smoke alarm. Is everything ok?
Ocean Springs resident Samantha Betterton got this call five weeks ago and wasn’t immediately concerned.
“We were having a lazy Saturday morning, and I was traveling. I was going through the city, running my errands, and I got a phone call from ADT telling me that there has been a smoke alarm go off in my house. I was pretty convinced that my husband was hom. He hadn’t left yet. So, I gave him a call. It wasn’t until he told me that he was not home that my stomach really dropped, and I thought something was wrong," Betterton said.
Betterton’s stomach dropped because the family already lost two pets this year, and their current pet, Bob, was home alone.
“Well, our dog is almost 12 years old, and, you know, our time is already limited with him. I couldn’t imagine his life being cut short, losing him in this way,” said Betterton.
Betterton rushed home to find her husband kicking in the door before the first responders arrived. This response was possible because of the quick work of Katie Whaley, and emergency dispatcher.
“I got an alarm, and I was like ok I need to call and make them aware of what’s going on. I found out later there was an actual fire. No matter what you think, every call is important. Pets are just as important as people. They’re family members," said Whaley.
Whaley flew in from Tennessee Tuesday morning to meet the family and the furry friend she helped save.
In addition to Whaley’s Life Saving Award, ADT also issued a five thousand dollar check to the Ocean Springs Fire Department for the life-saving work of their first responders.
And there is yet another silver lining. The Betterton house wasn’t completely destroyed. The structure was spared, and now they are working to renovate the interior, so that Bob and his family can move back home.