Firefighter saves girl’s life with Heimlich

BOARDMAN, Ohio (WKBN) — A firefighter from the other side of the state was in the right place at the right time and wound up saving a little girl’s life last week at a crowded intersection in Boardman.

Van Wert Fire Capt. Craig King was headed back from his hotel to a firefighter class on Feb. 25 when he pulled up behind a car at the intersection of South Avenue and U.S. Route 224.

“Two parents in the  car in front of me, looks like they were turning around trying to get an object, like their child had dropped something in the back seat. There was a little bit of commotion back and forth,” King said.

King jumped out and ran up to the car, where he found panicked parents and the little girl turning blue. It turned out the 4-year-old girl in the backseat was choking on a chicken nugget.

“I ran up to the father and took the girl from his hands and told him ‘I’m a paramedic. I cam help,'” King said.

About a half dozen firefighters and emergency medical technicians from Austintown also were there that day for training. They pulled up right alongside Capt. King when they saw the commotion and hopped out to help, including blocking traffic.

“It was all Capt. King. I mean obviously he’s the one who did the back blows and did the job. We just happened to be there to support him,” said Austintown firefighter/EMT Dave Schertzer.

“On the third set of maneuvers, the object came out and it was a lovely chicken nugget,” King said.

At the time, crews were responding to three separate emergency calls in Boardman.

“And the EMS unit coming to support the fire department was about 8 minutes out, so the whole situation, as fate had it, Capt. King in the right spot at the right time,” said Boardman Fire Chief George Brown.

“The poor girl didn’t have 2 minutes, let alone 8 minutes,” King said.

Boardman Township officials and Chief Brown honored King with a proclamation a couple days later, presenting it in front of his class.

King said he was a little shaken up after the incident because he has two daughters of his own, so it really hit home.

As for the little girl, she immediately started breathing and her color came back. Firefighters said she was even telling them what a big girl she was and warning them to watch out for traffic in the middle of the street.

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