— Nine-one-one dispatchers in Clark County are getting praises from their bosses for how they handled the emergency calls from Tuesday’s murder-suicide at a home on Quinlan Court in Springfield.
Springfield police say Eric Sirons shot and killed his wife, Jennifer Sirons, and one of her daughters, Andrea Heiser, before killing himself inside their home. Heiser was Eric Sirons’ stepdaughter.
Two 911 calls reporting the shootings came from inside the house. Jennifer Sirons’ surviving three daughters — Andrea’s sisters — huddled into a locked, upstairs bathroom together after hearing the gunfire.
Two of the three girls called 911. Their calls were supposed to go to the city Of Springfield’s 911 dispatch center, but the calls from their cell phones routed through a cell tower that is outside the city. As a result, those calls were sent to Clark County’s 911 center.
The dispatch supervisor for the city of Springfield said that’s common, and that county and city dispatchers worked quickly to clear up the confusion and coordinated emergency response to the Quinlan Court home.
One of the Heiser girls ended up on the phone with a Springfield dispatcher, while the other talked to a Clark County 911 dispatcher.
“Every time I talked to her about getting somebody else on the line with her she got more upset so I just kept the call because I didn’t want to take the chance of it getting dropped … and her being alone with nobody to talk to,” said Clark County dispatcher Myla Repik.
Repik went into mom mode when she received the call from the 16-year-old girl, she said.
“She’s a child, and she was petrified; she didn’t know what to do and I wasn’t taking any chances with her,” Repik said. “I wouldn’t want someone to do that for my child, so I just hung on to her.”
Springfield 911 Communications Manager Paul Hicks said both dispatchers showed “superb” teamwork while talking to the Heiser girls during a traumatic experience.
“The county dispatcher provided very good assistance and getting them to a safe room, trying to provide them with suggestions on how to remain calm and stay away from the event that was going on while our dispatcher is talking to the other girls on the phone,” Hicks said. “They did very good at calming them, reassuring them that we were there for them and that we would get them help and we would make sure that they were taken care of.”
News Center 7’s John Bedell is working to talk to those dispatchers about how they kept the girls calm during the frantic moments after their mother and sister were murdered. Look for the story this afternoon starting at 5 on News Center 7.