INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - Dispatchers are vital in any emergency situation. They are responsible for receiving and transmitting accurate information for life and death occurrences in a small amount of time.
"They are so critical to where we need to go," said Mike Hewitt, Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department spokesman.
Their role was imperative nearly three weeks ago when two people were killed and 33 homes were destroyed in a home explosion. The blast happened in the Richmond Hill subdivision.
Shortly after the blast, a rush of calls flooded the Indianapolis dispatch center. Dispatchers then were faced with the task of assessing each call and then informing first responders what to expect once on the scene.
"It's so much more than just reporting," said Hewitt.
911 tapes recorded the night of the blast are being withheld as investigators continue their investigation. Police have determined the blast was criminal and detectives are in the midst of seeking out possible suspects.
During the aftermath of the blast, police and fire crews were praised for their quick response. Some investigators, however, point the finger squarely at dispatchers for helping those who needed help the most.
"We couldn't do what we do without them," said Hewitt.
Jim Dillman has worked in dispatch for 11 years. He answered one of the first calls for help that night. Dispatch estimates its call center took 600 calls within that first hour.
The call volume started to decrease once residents saw police and fire headed their way. Some investigators are calling the dispatchers heroes, but they call it just another day at the office.
"It's just doing my job," said Dillman.
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