Paramedics Staying at Hotel Hear Mother’s Screams, Jump Fence to Rescue Unresponsive Boy in Pool


Amanda Thomason July 31, 2021 at 12:17pm

The Dixie Fire in California has burned over 220,000 acres since it started on July 13, leaving behind a charred landscape and only 23 percent contained by Thursday morning.

According to KCRA-TV, it’s ranked as the largest fire of the year in California and the 13th largest in the state’s history. The New York Times reported that over 5,400 firefighters are battling the blaze.

A group of paramedics also assisting with the fire efforts was staying at a hotel in Redding and happened to be in the right place at the right time for one family.

A 10-year-old boy at the pool became unresponsive, and the first responders realized something was amiss when the boy’s mother began screaming.

“And then I heard those screams, and I said, ‘Uh oh,’” Tom Schwedhelm with the Moraga-Orinda Fire Protection District recalled in a video shared by CAL FIRE/Butte County on Sunday.

“He had water in the lungs and he was not breathing and he had no pulse,” Brian Basso with the Oxnard Fire Department added.

The paramedics hopped the pool fence and immediately started CPR. As they continued to work on him, he came to and began breathing and crying.

It was certainly a traumatizing experience for the family, but they couldn’t have been in a better place with all the paramedics on hand.

“A group of first responders assigned to the #DixieFire was staying at a Redding Hotel when they heard an anguished mother’s screams,” the CAL FIRE/Butte County post read.

“That’s when they jumped into action, preventing a tragedy with their quick-thinking actions. Now, they’re grateful they were in the right place at the right time.”

Schwedhelm added that the sound of the boy crying was a huge relief to those present.

“Sigh of relief,” he said. “Sigh of relief. It’s funny, as paramedics, you know, when kids cry, that’s good. It means they have an airway.”

For others, the rescue hit close to home. Jarred Neal with the Oakland Fire Department got emotional when explaining how personally he took the incident.

“I do have kids,” Neal said. “I have four. So you know, like, it’s hard not to look at a kid and go hey, you know, it could be my kid.

“For us being at the right spot at the right time, we wouldn’t have had that opportunity … These are the ones that you remember for 25, 30 years.”

Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she’s strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.

As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn’t really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.

She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she’s had teal hair.

With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children’s books with her husband, Edward.


Austin, Texas

Languages Spoken

English und ein bißchen Deutsch

Topics of Expertise

Faith, Animals, Cooking

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