METHUEN — Fire officials are praising two of their own after the roadside revival of an 8-year-old boy who dove into a swimming pool, hit his head on the bottom and lost consciousness.
On Monday evening, a week after graduating from the Massachusetts Firefighting Academy, Brian Wolfendale was in an ambulance driven by Luis Nigaglioni. They were headed to Conrad Street, where a panicked dad dialed 911 only moments earlier.
While the ambulance sped to the nearby home, it was intercepted by a car in the middle of Lowell Street, Wolfendale recalled. He said the driver got out of the car, waved his arms, and pulled out an unconscious boy who was turning blue.
Traffic was blocked in both directions, Wolfendale said, and dozens of people who were curious about the commotion gathered at the scene.
“His son was limp, not breathing,” he said. “We didn’t know it was the same call at first. We thought someone saw us and just needed help. It took us a second. Our priority was getting this kid CPR.”
Instead of starting chest compressions on the pavement, Wolfendale said he took the boy from his dad’s arms and laid him in the closest grassy front yard.
Back at the fire station, dispatchers and Deputy Chief Dan Donahue were sorting out if any more resources were needed and where exactly the patient was.
“It was a bizarre call to say the least,” Donahue said.
Wolfendale performed CPR for about a minute before the boy coughed up what appeared to be pool water, he said.
“He got that out, had a good breath of air and he was awake,” Wolfendale said. “He knew who he was. His father was right there. He knew who he was, too.”
Deputy Chief Donahue said the boy was loaded into the ambulance and transported to Lawrence General Hospital. His status was not known as of Tuesday afternoon.
Donahue said it’s standard for patients who ingest a concerning amount of pool water to be observed by health officials for 24 hours due to risks of lung infection.
Though Wolfendale only recently completed his firefighter training, he had a combined three years of experience as an emergency medical technician in Chelsea and Somerville before joining the Methuen department just over a year ago.
Officials would not identify the family involved, and attempts to reach someone at the residence from where the call came were unsuccessful.