Panic 911 spotlights girl heroine and dispatcher in Charlotte fire
Charlotte Fire dispatcher John Schuler isn’t a big fan of TV or the in the spotlight, but when A&E’s “Panic 9-1-1” called about a segment featuring the actions of a heroic young girl during a fire last year, he knew that he had to participate.
Tyshala Wilson, 11, and her 6-year-old brother Hampton were surrounded by flames at their apartment near Rose Thorn Place in southwest Charlotte on March 16, 2021, the show said. Tyshala called 911 at 6:38 p.m. when she noticed fire and smoke coming from the kitchen.
“The house is on fire, help me,” she told Schuler, who got the call.
Schuler, on the show, explains that the kids only had about four minutes to get out of the apartment because chemicals in the kitchen could cause the fire to double every 30 seconds.
The emergency was over in about 6 minutes. Tyshala stayed on the phone with Schuler the whole time.
“She did a really good job listening to me, doing everything I said and staying safe,” Schuler told the Charlotte Observer in a phone interview.
The apartment caught fire after the children’s babysitter went on an errand and failed to remove a pan from the burning stove, according to the show.
In May 2021, Wilson received the Heroism Award from the Office of the North Carolina State Fire Marshal and the North Carolina Insurance Commissioner for his efforts.
“I just have to say that if I wasn’t here right now, my mum would be in tears. My grandmother would cry and it would be an endless nightmare,” Tyshala told WBTV.
“It’s all pretty weird to me”
When Charlotte Fire’s COO told him he was on the show in May 2021, Schuler initially felt uneasy about it.
“I usually stay off camera,” Schuler said. “It was all pretty weird to me.”
Schuler wasn’t the only one interviewed for the show, which airs 911 calls in “real time.” Tyshala and her mother, LaQuawana Wilson, also participated.
“Talking to the dispatcher was like being on the phone with a very important friend,” Tyshala said on the show. “Someone you can trust and someone to help keep you calm. He was very helpful.
Hours after the fire, Tyshala called Schuler to thank him for saving her and Hampton’s life.
“She did such an amazing job, and I don’t think she even knew when she was doing it how well she did it,” Schuler said on the show. “That little girl was the greatest hero.”
The episode “I’m Dying and I Love Him” featuring Schuler and Tyshala premiered on A&E on July 30.