Richmond fire crew delivers and revives pulseless newborn

Five people displaced in two-alarm fire on S. 47th Street
A Richmond Fire Department engine. (File photo)

By Mike Kinney

Three heroic Richmond Firefighters delivered and revived a pulseless newborn in the Iron Triangle neighborhood last month.

On Feb. 22 at 2 p.m., Capt. Dan Kennedy, Engineer Shawn McCombe and Firefighter Chris Silvas responded to a critical request to assist a mother in labor whose baby was in a breech position, which during birth can cause the baby to press on the umbilical cord and cut off their oxygen supply.

Thankfully, the firefighters who operate out of Fire Station 62 in North Richmond have EMT training that includes learning how to deliver babies and handle complications.

The three man-crew performed a critical maneuver to clear the umbilical cord and deliver the baby, who had turned blue, lacked a pulse and was not breathing.

“The team initiated CPR and the baby had a return of spontaneous circulation,” Richmond Fire Battalion Chief Victor Bontempo said.

Later the same day, the baby was reported to be doing fine in the hospital nursery thanks to the heroic efforts of the firefighters.

Such complications are extremely rare in hospitals and especially in the field for firefighters, but the crew’s reliance on its training led to the best possible outcome, Bontempo said.

For Capt. Kennedy, who has operated for 10 years out of Fire Station 62, one of the crucial points from training was knowing that “time is not your friend here.”

“As a team we were ready to respond and take steps in a chronological order,” he said, adding, “As a crew we have seen a lot of horrific things…this was a great win for everyone involved but most importantly for the baby and the parents. “

Kennedy added, “We at Fire Station 62 are proud to serve our community and we were very fortunate to make a difference on that day. ”