When Engine 2 and its three firefighters reported for work on the weekend of March 8, they had no idea what lay in store for them.
In fact, Saturday night, March 8, turned out to be one for the books for this engine company that rarely sits down (like its sister company, Engine 3) and, before March 8, figured that they had pretty much seen everything already.
They were proven wrong.
When Engine 2 pulled up to Congress Avenue Saturday night, March 8, they new they had a medical emergency to deal with. What they didn’t know when they walked in the room was that they were going to bring a life into the world.
Lt. Chris Lehmann and Firefighters Tom Follis and Jimmy Ruiz assessed the situation as they arrived and quickly determined there was no time for a trip to the hospital.
There was a baby coming; and they were going to have to deliver it.
The firefighters fell back on their training and began assisting the mother and were able to help breech the baby and quickly remove the umbilical cord from its neck – as it had gotten perilously wrapped around the baby.
The intensity was paramount.
“It happens every once in a while,” said Lehmann. “We deal with a lot of hard stuff on the streets, especially at night, but it’s kind of nice to be able to share in the joy of delivering a baby. This was my first one and it was a team effort.”
Said Follis, “This was my third one and it was Jimmy’s third one too, I think, and it never stops being amazing.”
The birth, however, was only half of their busy night.
Literally, as Engine 2 was backing out of their parking spot on Congress Avenue, they were called to a major working fire on Admiral’s Hill.
“We were literally backing the engine up to leave the scene when the fire call came,” said Follis. “It was that quick, completely back to back.”
Lehmann said they barely had time to help the new parents celebrate the birth before having to dash to a fire.
“We delivered the baby and congratulated the mother and loaded her up in the ambulance and wished her and the new baby well,” said Lehmann. “We gathered our stuff and were backing up when we got the fire call. We responded really fast because any time you have a fire in a large residential building like the one on Admiral’s Hill, it could become very serious. We were the first on scene and were there I believe about two minutes before the other responders arrived.”
With the memory of the new baby still fresh on their minds, Engine 2’s trio parked their engine on the Hill and quickly moved on to the next task at hand. Being the first on the scene, they were charged with finding the source of the fire and beginning to get people evacuated from the building safely.
The crew quickly found that the fire was coming from the 5th floor and reported heavy smoke conditions. They dragged 200 feet of hose up to the 5th floor in record time and began to hook it up to a water source as other crews arrived on the scene.
The fire was knocked down after a major effort to evacuate everyone safely from the 7-story building.
As Engine 2 returned to the station, the three firefighters looked anxiously at their radio – wondering what kind of other emergency they might be faced with. But, two appeared to be enough for 2 that night.
“For me, I’ve had minor stuff that came one after another and you always have busy nights,” said Lehmann. “But, this was one night that we won’t soon forget. We went from delivering a baby straight to fighting a fire. We definitely joked about it on the way back to the station. I think we all agreed it’s not something you come across very often.”
Engine 2 is stationed out of the Central Fire Station.