CINCINNATI -- Lockland (Ohio) firefighter Michael Allen said he could feel his heart beating in his chest when he heard a 10-month-old was trapped in an apartment fire.
A mother had been cooking at her apartment on Sunday when a fire started in the kitchen. She was able to get three of her children outside, but the smoke was too thick for her to get to her baby. A police officer tried to rescue the child, but he too was swallowed in smoke.
Allen was on his way to the fire when he learned the child was trapped on the second floor.
“There was no thinking twice, there was no second guessing in what had to be done. You just – you know everything comes to you, things (you've) probably not thought about in five years … everything comes back, and you jump in the action and you go,” Allen said.
He said he could see the fire growing from the kitchen when he opened the door. He heard the baby crying as he put his oxygen mask on and made his way through the smoke to the second floor.
“The baby stopped crying, so then immediately you’re thinking the worst is about to happen,” Allen said. “I made it into her bedroom. I found the crib relatively quick, was able to pick her up and when I did she did start to cry again, so I took my mask off, covered her face up and brought her outside to mom.”
Allen has been a firefighter for more than 10 years. He said nothing tops the joy he felt when he handed the baby to her mother.
“It’s an incredible feeling. It’s exactly why we do this job,” Allen said. “It doesn’t matter who you are. You become a fireman to help people and make their day better than what it was before you got there.”
First responders gave the baby oxygen and transported her to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center for observation, but she is expected to be OK.
Allen said he knows things could have been much worse.
“Had we been on a call, you gotta have units respond from other departments if you’re out, so knowing that everything just fell in place perfectly today and that little baby is going to make it … it’s a good feeling,” he said.