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South Jersey Firefighters Help Deliver Healthy Baby Girl

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Jan-Carabeo-web-social-pic-no-branding Jan Carabeo
Jan Carabeo joined CBS 3 and The CW Philly’s Eyewitness News team ...
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By Jan Carabeo

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – It’s not exactly running into a burning building, but some local firefighters had to put their life-saving skills to the test.

A couple expecting a baby was unable to make it to the hospital, and instead, rushed to the nearest fire station, where firefighters helped bring a baby girl into the world.

On Monday, it was a meeting under very different circumstances for the Blatherwicks and members of the Winslow Township Fire Department.

For the first time, the fire crew officially met Annika, the baby girl they helped deliver.

“My instincts took over, my training took over,” recalls Captain Brian Tomlin.

Already two days past due, it was Saturday night when Chad and Melissa realized little Annika wasn’t waiting any longer.

“She said, ‘We’re not going to make it to the hospital.’ She was right,” says Chad Blatherwick, the baby’s father.

Just 11 minutes after the pair left home, on the side of Cross Keys Road in Albion, all six pounds, nine ounces and 19.5 inches arrived.

Annika didn’t make it easy on mom and dad.

“The cord was wrapped around her twice, and he took it off,” Melissa remembers.

The baby still needed her airway cleared.

Luckily, the crew at the nearby Winslow Township Fire Department, Station 256, was available to help – which isn’t always the case.

“This is a volunteer fire house, and it so happens, we were lucky to be on our shift that night,” Capt. Tomlin says. “I didn’t hear the baby making any noise or anything, so my instinct was to clear the airway. Soon as I did that, I heard the baby crying and screaming, and that was a relief to me.”

“We happened to be here, and they happened to be driving by…we all happen to be EMTs that could handle it,” says Bill Hewitt, a firefighter and EMT.

“[It’s] just a relief that okay, that help was here and we weren’t on our own,” Melissa says.

Annika won’t ever be on her own again – especially now, with her extended family at the firehouse.

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