Miss. firefighters transport 3-year-old to hospital in fire truck

Officials said no ambulances were available due to an influx of calls around the same time as the toddler's drowning


By FireRescue1 Staff

COLUMBUS, Miss. — A 3-year-old boy is making a "miraculous" recovery after being rushed to the hospital by firefighters.

Columbus Fire & Rescue crews were dispatched at 11:39 a.m. on Saturday after a boy fell backward into a swimming pool, according to the Clarion-Ledger. Once firefighters arrived on scene, they found the toddler lifeless in the pool. He was unresponsive and not breathing. Firefighters began CPR and, a minute later, another fire truck arrived on scene. 

However, an ambulance was unavailable in Lowndes County. Neil Austin, fire coordinator for Lowndes County, said dispatchers contacted Baptist Memorial Hospital-Golden Triangle for an ambulance but there weren't any available, according to the report.

"We dispatched BHM, BHM contacted 911 with no trucks available," Austin said. "Then 911 turned around and called for mutual aid from Clay County at BHM's request."

An ambulance was later dispatched from West Point, which was 20-plus miles away from the scene. Instead of waiting, firefighters decided to transport the toddler to the hospital in their fire truck.

Megan Pratt, marketing director for BHM-GT, said the hospital was "adequately staffed" with four ambulances. However, Pratt said they received an influx of calls around the same time as the toddler's drowning. 

"It's a miracle he's alive," the boy's mother, Jacinta Jones, said. "I want to thank the 911 operator, the fire and police, and those at Baptist Hospital. Without them, this would have been a tragic situation. I will be eternally grateful to each person that helped."

The toddler is currently still in intensive care, but Jones said he's talking and eating.

"He wants to get rid of the IV lines in his arm and is a little grumpy now, but that's what we want from a 3-year-old," Jones said. "He is talking and eating and shows no signs of the incident. He is being treated for a possible infection from the water that he might have taken in from the pool, but that is treatable, and that is what we are concentrating on now."

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