Boardman firefighters say good timing saved toddler from overdose


BOARDMAN, Ohio (WYTV) –¬†Veteran Boardman firefighter and paramedic Harry Wolfe said he just happened to look at this window late Tuesday afternoon when he saw a car lurch to a stop at the intersection.

Then, another driver near Shields Road and Lockwood Boulevard stopped to see what happened.

“At that point, I saw the bystander — whoever it was — had a child in his arms, and she was limp,” he recalled.

Wolfe and his partners, Rob Ariza and Scott Hanlin, were at the fire station on Shields Road when they were called into action to save the 14-month-old girl. The girl’s mother told crews that another child had given the toddler a chip or something else to eat and that she wasn’t breathing.

“I ran across the street, called for an ambulance from dispatch, grabbed the child and started CPR,” Wolfe said.

As Wolfe was running back inside with the baby, his partners were pulling gear off of the engine.

“Everything was happening in a rapid pace, you knew exactly what was going on. We knew what we had to do,” said Ariza.

By state regulations, paramedics undergo mandatory training, but by coincidence, their last two classes dealt with patients in respiratory arrest.

“We just remembered it, and we were kind of telling each other, ‘Hey remember. Remember, we gotta slow down,'” Ariza said.

Precious minutes later, the toddler started breathing on her own, and an ambulance took her to Akron Children’s Hospital in Boardman. Later, they learned that the girl had opioids in her system.

Looking back now, they think it was good timing that saved the girl.

“If we would have been out on another run, there would have been nobody here,” Wolfe said.