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3 Tulsa Children Call 911 For Help On Disabled Cell Phone

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"Can't make out what they're saying, you can't understand a word the child is saying. It just sounds garbled," said EMSA dispatcher Stephanie Jones. "Can't make out what they're saying, you can't understand a word the child is saying. It just sounds garbled," said EMSA dispatcher Stephanie Jones.
Through a bit of searching, the crew narrowed down the exact origin of the call and found the children. Through a bit of searching, the crew narrowed down the exact origin of the call and found the children.
"If you've got an old cell phone, it can be a very valuable life-saving tool. So, you don't have to throw them away, just keep them charged," Kelli Bruer said. "If you've got an old cell phone, it can be a very valuable life-saving tool. So, you don't have to throw them away, just keep them charged," Kelli Bruer said.
TULSA, Oklahoma -

Three Tulsa kids were rescued from what first responders describe as deplorable conditions, thanks to a phone that doesn't even work.

Dispatchers heard a little voice on a 911 call and knew there may be big trouble.

"Can't make out what they're saying, you can't understand a word the child is saying. It just sounds garbled," said EMSA dispatcher Stephanie Jones.

The call was transferred to EMSA, in case the child needed medical attention.

"Knowing that someone may need help, it's frustrating. We put everything into finding people, because to us, that's a life," Jones said.

The call came in from somewhere in the 2500 block of East 6th Street, in Tulsa, but as dispatchers tried to pinpoint an exact location, the call got disconnected.

The child called in on a disabled phone. Any cell phone, even one without service, can still connect to 911, as long as it's charged. But dispatchers can't call disabled phones back, so they waited.

Luckily, the child phoned again.

"Eventually, through process of elimination, the crew - with a little bit of searching and diligence, on their part - they stayed with it until they found the house," Jones said.

Medics said the home was filthy. They could smell an overwhelming stench of feces, before they even got to the door.

Inside, they found a 6-year-old girl, 8-year-old boy and 10-year-old girl.

The children looked malnourished and after a search, the medics found no food in the house. The medics said the kids were in such bad shape, they took all three to the hospital.

"Not a single one of us would give up before we had done everything to find them," Jones said.

EMSA says the kids were placed in DHS custody and remind us how handy disabled cell phones can be.

"If you've got an old cell phone, it can be a very valuable life-saving tool. So, you don't have to throw them away, just keep them charged," Kelli Bruer said.

Domestic Violence Intervention Services (DVIS) has been collecting old cell phones for more than 10 years. The agency said nearly 50 clients have used disabled phones to call 911.

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