PIERCE COUNTY, Wash. - A Parkland mother met the men and women who saved her baby’s life after the 1-year-old fell into a pool and nearly drowned.
"There aren't many outcomes like this in our career,” said Matt Currie, Central Pierce Fire & Rescue firefighter and paramedic. "It's just phenomenal to see her walking and smiling and interacting just like any other 1-year-old."
Currie feared the worst when the 911 call came in June 30.
Chudeir had fallen into a kiddie pool in her backyard. She'd been underwater for close to five minutes before family members found her.
“That’s a pretty critical time frame. That’s about as long as you want anybody to be without any kind of oxygen on board,” said Currie. “If it had gone any longer, the brain damage that occurs from being without oxygen is very, very dangerous.”
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Chudeir’s mother had almost given up hope.
"I didn't think she was going to come back,” said Nyakor Kueth. "When they arrived, I asked them if she was going to be OK, and they're like, 'Miracles happen.' In my head I'm like, 'That's it.'”
When paramedics arrived, the little girl was unresponsive, wasn't breathing and didn't have a pulse.
"Just seeing her in the condition she left the scene in, I didn't expect her to come back here,” said Lt. Josh Farris, of Central Pierce Fire & Rescue.
First responders didn't quit.
They were determined to save Chudeir's life, and that's exactly what they did.
On Saturday, nearly a month after the near-drowning, the family came to the fire station to say thank you.
"We appreciate you for what you do for us as citizens,” said Kueth.
Thanks to Central Pierce Fire & Rescue, Kueth has her little girl back.
"I'm grateful. I cannot even imagine. Words cannot express it. I'm happy, I'm grateful, I thank God every day,” she said.
Paramedics are using the miraculous story as a reminder that drownings can happen in the blink of an eye.
“It doesn’t take very much water for a drowning to happen. You can drown in a 5-gallon bucket, you can drown in 6 inches of water,” said Farris. “One of the most important things is to have a designated adult who’s keeping track of each and every kid.”
On Thursday, a man died in Spanaway Lake.
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