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Crime News 911 Crisis Center

911 Dispatchers Respond To Gun Owner’s Shocking Oven Incident

At Chagrin Valley Dispatch, featured in "911 Crisis Center," dispatchers handle all sorts of unique calls.

By Joe Dziemianowicz

Holidays bring a predictable uptick in calls at Chagrin Valley Dispatch, an Ohio communications agency featured in “911 Crisis Center,” airing Saturdays at 9/8c on Oxygen.

How to Watch

Catch up on 911 Crisis Center on Peacock or the Oxygen App.

“St. Patrick's Day means be ready for a long, exhausting, grueling shift,” said longtime dispatcher Melanie McCavish. “It’s gonna be nuts."

Factor in a full moon looming and that goes double. A number of calls concerned intoxicated individuals, including a “lady laying on the sidewalk” who had to be transported to the hospital.

Early in the shift, supervisor Charline Polk took a call from a woman whose 40-year-old husband was unconscious and not breathing. “We’re gonna go ahead and start CPR,” said Polk, who could hear gasping sounds indicating agonal breathing.

Polk instructed the caller to put the palm of one hand on the center of the man’s chest and her other hand on top of that hand. “I want you to press down 30 times about one and a half inches. We’re going to count together,” Polk said. “You’re going to do this 30 times. Let's go … 1, 2, 3 …”

Meanwhile, other dispatchers directed EMS personnel to the caller’s address. CPR steps were repeated until first responders arrived. “Good job,” Polk reassured the caller.

Later, a caller startled the unflappable dispatchers: “I think the oven blew up,” he said.

Dispatcher Jennifer Barber, “one of our newbies,” according to Polk, determined that the caller was unhurt and that there was no fire. She coaxed out the details of what was happening. 

“I placed my firearm in the back of the oven,” said the caller, adding that the gun was unloaded. “I started cooking but I forgot the firearm was in there.”

After police and fire personnel reported to the scene, dispatchers got an all-clear. The oven didn’t explode, there was no fire, and the caller was unharmed. The damaged firearm was collected. The positive, best-case outcome invited just a bit of levity.

"Did you ask him what he was cooking?" one dispatcher joked. “No, I did not,” said Barber.

Dispatchers also handled a call from a man in a car who reported being shot. “Can you stop your vehicle so we can send you help?” asked Steven Schieferstein, a rookie dispatcher. 

Time was of the essence because a gunshot could lead to him passing out: “You gotta stop your car,” Schieferstein said.

Ashley Welch, a dispatcher with 13 years of experience, took over the call. “You called us and said that you’ve been shot,” she said. “So stop driving.” The caller finally did. Paramedics transported the man to the hospital for evaluation. 

Sometimes “the change in tone” registers,” Welch said, adding that being “cut and dry” is needed to take control and help people. 

To learn more about emergency dispatcher, watch  “911 Crisis Center,” airing Saturdays at 9/8c on Oxygen.

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