By Assistant Chief Peggy Killian
February 9, 2017

The healthy baby boy is the eighth delivery by the Southold Fire Department.
Hero Southold Firefighters Deliver Baby In Ambulance

SOUTHOLD, NY — Heroic first responders dedicate hours and years to saving lives, the first to arrive at the most heartbreaking accident scenes and emergency medical calls.

But despite the many sad moments, sometimes, there are happy endings —and that's just what happened early Thursday morning, when a Southold Fire Department team delivered a healthy baby boy in the back of an ambulance on the way to the hospital.

"It was pretty cool," said Southold Fire Department Chief Peggy Killian.

The call, she said, came in at 3:24 a.m. Thursday morning; a Southold woman's water had just broken. The ambulance "got as far as Mattituck" on its way to Peconic Bay Medical Center before the infant boy made his debut.

The baby arrived just hours before Thursday's snowstorm blanketed the North Fork.

Usually when the water breaks, "you know it's close," Killian said. "This one was closer than close."

"What's ironic is that we had a cardiac arrest an hour before," Killian said. "One person passes and another is person is born." In a moving twist and celebration of life after sorrow, the same crew that had been on the call for the cardiac patient were the ones to deliver the child, she said.

The baby was the eighth that the Southold Fire Department has delivered, and Killian, who was not at Thursday's call, has been on the scene for the other seven.

When you help to deliver a baby, Killian said, "You'll smile for weeks. All we deal with is gloom and doom usually, but when a baby is born, it's such a joyous occasion. Especially when everything goes well. There's no way to describe it. It's probably the only time you'll see grown men cry."

Mother and baby are both doing well, Killian said.

While she's sorry she missed the birth, Killian said she was happy for others in the SFD to be able to experience the wonder and joy of the moment.

According to Southold Fire Department Chief Engineer James Rich, who was on the initial call, the woman was in her mid-20s and in her third trimester.

"We assessed her and felt the birth was imminent. We began to proceed to Peconic Bay Medical Center and halfway there in Mattituck, she gave birth to a full term boy, who we think is doing very well. He was aggressively crying, which is a very positive thing." The ambulance continued on to PBMC with mother and child, and, he said, "It is my hope and my belief that it was a complete success."

Rich agreed having a baby born so soon after a tragic CPR call for an adult male who did not survive was a profound experience for the first responders. "They got to see the complete circle of life," he said.

And there's nothing sweeter, Rich said, than delivering a newborn.

"Before I got married, the priest said that they do funerals and weddings but the best are christenings or baptisms because everyone is happy," Rich said.

The same is true for first responders, who rush off to a sea of tragic crashes and scenes. So when they are able to deliver a healthy baby, he said, "It's pretty exciting."

The new father got in the ambulance to kiss his wife good-bye and then followed the ambulance to the hospital, Rich said.

"It isn't always that you're able to do something that's just good, all the way around," Rich said.

He added that he read a message to the Southold first firefighters and first responders Thursday night after the storm is a nite they will always remember.

Thanks to Lisa Finn for the article

Congratulations to the crew:
Dave Surozenski
Kent Layton
John Boliver
Mike Liegy
Deb Cox
Michelle Salmon
Ed Boyd ( who made the final catch )

A Great TEAM effort

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