First Responders Assigned to Dixie Fire Save 10-Year-Old Boy From Drowning at Their Calif. Hotel

·3 min read

First responders staying at a California hotel to help with the wildfires are being praised as heroes — but not for tending to those affected by the flames.

Had it not been for the quick actions of the paramedics, a 10-year-old boy may have drowned in the Redding Hotel's swimming pool, according to a video posted on Cal Fire's Butte Unit/Butte County Fire Department's Facebook and Twitter pages on Sunday.

"We were just right there at the right time," Oakland Fire Department's Jarred Neal said in the clip.

According to the video, the paramedics were staying at the hotel after being assigned to the Dixie Fire, which started burning on July 14 and has scorched 208,206 acres, per Cal Fire.

While there, the first responders heard "an anguished mother's screams," the fire department's post stated.

"I heard those screams and I said, 'Uh, oh,'" Tom Schwedhelm, with the Moraga-Orinda Fire Protection District, recalled in the video.

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The group soon discovered the woman's 10-year-old son partially unresponsive in the hotel's pool, according to CBS affiliate KOVR. Brian Basso, with the Oxnard Fire Department, confirmed in the video that the boy "had water in the lungs, he was not breathing and had no pulse."

"We know what that means," said Neal in the clip. "It's time to work. We jumped the [pool's] fence — we don't have time to use key cards."

Despite not being on the clock, the first responders "jumped into action" and began performing CPR on the boy, according to Cal Fire's Butte Unit.

Their quick, life-saving measures were ultimately successful and helped resuscitate the boy, who sat up and cried before he was transported to the hospital, per the video.

"It's funny, as paramedics when kids cry, that's good. It means they have an airway," Schwedhelm said in the clip, adding that when the boy sat up, there was a "sigh of relief."

Added Neal: "[The boy's mom] was in the ambulance, rubbing his foot telling him it was gonna be okay. And I truly believe it is, it's gonna be okay."

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As they now refocus on the Dixie Fire, Neal said these moments remind them just how important their work is — no matter how much of an emotional toll it may take at times.

"I do have kids, I have four. It's hard not to look at a kid and go, 'Hey, this could be my kid,'" he said in the video. "For us, being in the right spot at the right time, we wouldn't have had that opportunity [otherwise]. These are the ones that you will remember for 25, 30 years."

The Dixie Fire is currently burning in two counties, Butte and Plumas, after merging with the Fly Fire over the weekend, according to KTLA.

Only 23 percent of the blaze is currently contained and a cause is not yet known, Cal Fire said.

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