A life-saving incident in April in Wichita, Kan. underscores the importance of having a monitored fire alarm. It also is a heart-warming story in which an ADT call center operator gets to meet the woman whose life she helped save.
According to Wichita’s KAKE TV, the smoke detectors that ADT had installed in the home of city resident Jerry Malone went off around 5 a.m. on April 23 after lightning struck her home. ADT dispatcher Cherry Smith immediately called Malone from the call center in Irving, Texas where she works, but Malone didn’t believe there was a fire in her house, the TV station said.
Here’s how it reported what happened:
"I was in complete denial," Malone said. "I heard the smoke alarm, I knew it was malfunctioning. I knew I did not have a fire."
But after telling Smith to hold the line and stepping into the hallway to survey the situation, Malone realized she had a real emergency.
"My house is on fire," Malone screamed into the phone.
"O.K., hang up the phone and I'm going to call 911 right now. I'm going to call the fire department," Smith said back to her calmly.
Firefighters arrived and saved Malone’s home from being a total loss, the station reported. Malone wasn’t hurt and hopes to move back in by July.
But there’s another part of the story.
Smith, who has worked for ADT for 12 years, had never met any of the many customers she’s helped. But Malone considered Smith as much of a life saver as the firefighters, so ADT arranged for Smith to travel to Wichita so Malone could thank her in person on May 16.
Here’s what happened, according to the station:
Smith handed Malone a bouquet of flowers and then shared with her an emotional embrace.
"Words can not explain to actually meet the person you talked to and know that you are a part of the team that saved her life," Smith said.
For the firefighters on that life-saving team, Malone helped ADT present the Wichita Fire Department with a check for $5,000. Fire Chief Ron Blackwell says it's money the department can use to buy equipment and buy awards for firefighters.
"(The firefighters) will tell you they were just doing their jobs but it's always nice to be recognized," Blackwell said.
And, the firefighters, the men who installed the ADT security system, and dispatcher Cherry Smith are all recognized as heroes by Jerry Malone.
"When others save you, you've got to be grateful," Malone said. "You've got to say, 'Thank you.' You've got to mean it."