CLEVELAND — A Northeast Ohio firefighter is being credited with saving the life of a 2-year-old girl thousands of miles away from home.
Tim Haas is a firefighter and paramedic with Shaker Heights. He is also a Brunswick Hills Assistant Fire Chief. Haas was vacationing with his family and was at a hotel pool in Mexico when the incident occurred.
“I happened to look over and somebody was handing a baby out of the water, a 2-year-old girl, she was limp and lifeless,” Hass said.
“The guy was holding her head down and shaking her and that didn’t look right to me. I thought maybe she was choking so I made my way over there to see if I could help,” said Haas.
When Haas got to the little girl, he said she was lifeless, wasn’t breathing and didn’t have a pulse. He quickly realized she had nearly drowned.
That’s when Hass’ training kicked in and he started CPR on the little girl.
“I could see the baby’s face changing as I was doing CPR, so I knew it was working,” Haas said. “Eventually, she started to grunt and gave a big cough and a whole bunch of water came out. At that point, I put her on her side she tried to breathe a couple more breaths, with each breath a whole bunch of water started pouring out of her. Finally, she was able to a good breath with some air and she just started crying and it felt so great."
Haas’ proud wife took to Facebook to share his heroic actions, but he said he doesn’t consider himself a hero.
“I’m glad I could help,” he said.
In his 26-year career, Haas said he has only performed CPR on a child five times. This is the only one with a happy ending.
“For the rest of vacation that’s all I could really think about is her face and what was happening at that time. It takes a long time to process it and move on from it, even with a good outcome,” Haas said.
Haas never saw the little girl again. He doesn’t know her name or where she is from, but he said he would like to know.
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