An Alabama couple was trapped for hours in an elevator at Westgate Resort during the Gatlinburg wildfires. The 911 calls show how the dispatcher tried to keep them alive and calm until help arrived.
GATLINBURG, TN – 911 calls made the night of the Gatlinburg fire disaster contain several incredible rescue stories.
One in particular came from a couple from Alabama who was rescued after spending nearly 9 hours stuck inside an elevator at the Westgate Resort.
Around 4:05 a.m., Reba Williams called 911 after repeatedly calling earlier for help.
She, along with her husband Joe, was stuck inside an elevator between two floors in a building that was burning to the ground.
“Ma’am they’re getting up there as fast as they can, okay?” the 911 dispatcher said. “Can you use any of your clothing to put over your face, okay? To help you breathe.”
Reba can be heard continuously praying and telling her husband she loved him.
She later told 10News, she had already said her goodbyes, not thinking she would be rescued in time.
In the middle of the 911 call, the dispatcher learned how dire the situation was at hand.
“How long have you been in the elevator?” the dispatcher asked.
Reba replied, “Since 8 p.m.” It was now 4:20 a.m. and crews were still en route to rescue the couple.
The dispatcher continued to keep them calm by saying, “I’m still with you, they are getting closer.”
They eventually lost connection.
When firefighters arrived, they found the building engulfed in flames. But, they did not give up.
Instead, they pried the door open and rescued the Williams.
“We’ve located and rescued both people in the elevator in the 4,000 building. EMS is on scene,” a first responder on scene said to dispatch.
When the same firefighters went back the next day, the elevator shaft where Reba and Joe Williams spent most of their night was the only part of the building that was left.
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