SUFFOLK, Va. (CBS Local) — A Virginia 911 dispatcher was on duty Thursday morning when she got a call that her own house was on fire.
Police said Barbara Hughes received an emergency call around 1:30 a.m. about a fire in the 3100 block area of Indian Trail at the corner of Deer Path Road.
Hughes, a dispatcher for 20 years, managed to put her fears and emotion aside to dispatch the call out to the appropriate first responders and fire personnel.
Minutes later, arriving firefighters confirmed it was her own house that was completely engulfed in flames.
The fire was brought under control by 2:30 a.m. Nobody was injured, but Hughes’ three pet dogs, Izzy, Kodi and Riley, perished in the fire and her home was a total loss.
Family members are helping her with a place to stay and friends and fellow dispatchers have started a GoFundMe page. As of Thursday afternoon, donations had exceeded $5,500.
“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,” the page reads. “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 CBS affiliate WTKR she’s shocked by the community 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 cause of the fire is under investigation.