Woman gives birth in fire station driveway

September 3, 2008 9:19:54 PM PDT
A couple of firefighters responded to an out-of-the-ordinary call, but they didn't have to go far for this "special delivery."Houston Fire Department Station 51 on Bellaire Blvd. at Bintliff in southwest Houston is one of the busiest stations in the city, responding to an average of 15 runs a day. But this time, the job they had to tackle came right to them.

When you're a Houston firefighter every day is unpredictable, and no one figured their next scene would be the driveway of their own station.

"We were manning the watch office as a vehicle came up and honked its horn," said HFD's George Saldana.

HFD Capt. David Dean recalled, "A van pulls up and the lady said she had a passenger who they were trying to get to the hospital."

That passenger was a woman in labor. There was no time to get through rush hour traffic.

"It was just right here in front of the pumper," Capt. Dean said.

The baby was ready to make an entrance into the world.

"Maybe a minute from the time we made contact with her to the time she was pushing the baby out," said Capt. Dean.

With six firefighters gathered around the mother, the little girl was born and then taken to the hospital.

Saldana said, "Everybody worked as a team, and all came together and had a baby today!"

While we typically see firefighters on the front lines of a fire, they are trained for medical emergencies, including delivering babies. This was firefighter George Saldana's second.

"My first one was at Taco Cabana in the parking lot," he recalled.

Captain David Dean has brought babies into the world on a METRO bus, in a taxi cab, even in an elevator. Yes, he is counting. This was number 14 for him.

"Definitely one of the most rewarding moments," he said.

Perhaps surprisingly, Firefighter Saldana says bringing a new life into the world is far more nerve-racking than running into a burning building.

"I'd rather fight a fire than deliver a baby, by far," he said. "But this was fun."

The rewards today for this crew are priceless.

"It's a glorious feeling when you put all of your work and time and effort and you actually get something out of it," Saldana said.

We have learned the baby girl and her mother are doing well at Southwest Memorial Hospital. There's no word yet on her name.

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