Firefighters often rely on the information homeowners and witnesses provide them when entering a burning building. When there are smoke and flames obscuring their vision, they need to know specifically, what they are looking for.
As Detroit firefighters ran into a residential blaze on April 5th, they were headed to rescue the family’s dogs trapped in the basement. Firefighter Lavaughn Williams noticed movement off to the side.
“I saw something out of the corner of my eye wiggling, and it was a baby with some sheets over here. And she was face down, and she was wiggling like she was struggling to breathe. The smoke was heavy in the room, so my parental instincts kicked in. I am a father, thinking of my child. I picked the baby up and ran out quickly as possible.”Firefighter Lavaughn Williams
The baby is an 18-month-old little girl who was sitting in her crib with her blankets as the room filled with smoke. Four adults had been in the house, and they all were able to get to safety.
The little girl’s adoptive mother was one of the four. Firefighters maintain that no one told them there was a baby in the home, just that there were dogs.
According to Fox 2, even the 911 dispatcher could be heard saying there were dogs in the home still. DFD battalion chief Mike Nevin said, “We pulled near 20 puppies and/ or dogs out of the building. (They) never mentioned, never once mentioned, a child in the building.”
Questions, Needing Answers
Williams immediately handed the toddler over to Nevins upon exiting. When the adoptive mother approached him to take the little girl, Nevins refused.
He gave the 18-month-old over to medics who brought her to Detroit Children’s Hospital. Here Child Protective services and Detroit police became involved in the situation.
Nevins feels that there is a strong case for neglect as they “noticed the possibility of some bumps and stuff on the child.” However, a neighbor who did not want to be identified said she heard the mother say that the baby was inside multiple times.
An assertion Nevins disagrees with. “Absolutely not, and I’ve got 21 witnesses that wear black fire gear and hard hat helmets that’ll tell you the same thing,” said Nevins.
Firefighters are trained to be observant even in impossible conditions. Thankfully, Williams investigated the movement and got her to safety.