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Choking infant saved by Prince George's firefighter

Matt Zapotosky

The timing could not have been more perfect. The volunteer firefighters, having just finished dousing a brush fire in Bowie, were just blocks from their station in Kentland. The choking infant girl, having just been loaded into a car by family members trying to find help, was one street away.

The fire truck could not even turn around before the car crossed its path near the intersection of Hawthorne Street and Fire House Road at about 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, said firefighter Fred Caramiello, who was on the truck. And when a young man rushed from the car, cradling a lifeless infant in his arms, the help he so desperately sought was right there.

“I believe God intervened on that one,” Caramiello said. “Because it’s such an imminent situation, who knows what would’ve happened?”

Here's what did happen: Caramiello, still covered in soot from the brush fire, grabbed the baby and began administering back blows, knowing that the child’s airway was likely clogged. The baby spit up. Soon after, it started to whimper and cry.

“And that’s a good sign, because if you’re making sounds, you’re passing air,” Caramiello said.

The baby was soon transported to the hospital, where a family member told authorities she is expected to make a full recovery.

Caramiello, 24, a career firefighter in Montgomery County who lives and volunteers for Prince George's County at the Kentland station is reluctant to accept the mantra of hero. Saving lives, he said, is a part of his job.

“If I can offer someone a second chance at life, then I came and did my job,” he said. “You don’t want to be the guy that tried to revive but couldn’t.”

-- Matt Zapotosky

By Matt Zapotosky  |  April 7, 2010; 2:30 PM ET
Categories:  Fires & Fire Safety , Matt Zapotosky , Pr. George's  
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Comments

THANK GOD FOR THIS ANGEL. THIS MAN IS TRULY AN ANGEL THAT GOD SENT TO HELP THIS BABY GIRL. MOST PEOPLE THAT DO OUTSTANDING THINGS REFUSE TO CALL THEMSELVES HEROES. THIS FIREFIGHTER IS TO BE THANKED FOR THIS COURAGE AND DETERMINATION. MAY GOD CONTINUE TO BLESS YOU. I LIVE NEAR THE FIRE HOUSE AND THANKS FOR BEING THERE.

Posted by: rawdiamond61 | April 8, 2010 4:13 AM | Report abuse

A word to the wise, though: do NOT do what this family did (drive to the fire station). If the engine unit had still been at the fire, the family would've ended up calling 911 AFTER wasting precious time driving to the station. Just call 911 in the first place; if the EMS personnel are in the station, they can get to your house faster than you can get to them (because they can run red lights); if they aren't in the station, they can divert to your house.

This could've been a major disaster if the engine unit had been just a couple of minutes later leaving their original scene.

Posted by: HiThere3 | April 8, 2010 11:33 AM | Report abuse

No, you drive to the station. If they can help, fine. If they can't then you sue and get a nice hefty settlement from your neighbors..... I mean, the financially independent local government.

Posted by: jiji1 | April 12, 2010 3:33 PM | Report abuse

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