Stopping to Save a Life
January 14, 2020
On his drive to reconnect service to a customer, Ohio Edison’s Art Sims noticed an unusual amount of smoke coming from the rooftop of a nearby house in Struthers, Ohio.
“The house didn’t have a chimney,” said Art, a collector based at the Youngstown Service Building. “Something seemed off, so I stopped to check on things and sure enough it was a fire.”
He safely parked his vehicle, walked up the driveway and spotted the homeowner working in her garage.
“I told her the house was on fire, but she didn’t believe it at first. She mostly spoke Spanish and our language barrier made it difficult to communicate,” explained Art. “I asked her to leave the garage and observe the smoke coming from the home’s exterior, which was getting more intense.”
As soon as she saw what was happening, the woman ran into the house, screaming for her baby – who was still inside – while Art called emergency personnel. At this point, Art could see flames coming from the back of the structure.
He waited outside but kept yelling to the woman while she was in the house, urging her to exit. “I’m not sure if she could hear me, but I kept shouting to tell her to get out as quickly as possible,” he remembered.
After a few moments, the mother reappeared, fleeing the home with her infant son. Both had sustained burn injuries from the fire.
“The fire department came in a matter of minutes and paramedics arrived shortly after to transport the baby to the hospital. The mother had wrapped the baby in a small blanket and a jacket to help protect him from the flames,” recalled Art. “The jacket was nylon and had melted to the mother’s chest. She had also sustained some burns and blisters from the incident.”
He could also tell the baby’s face had been burned. The child didn’t appear to be breathing at first, but after a few moments, Art saw the baby take small breathes and wince a little before being transported to the hospital for treatment.
“It was really hard to sleep that night – having that image in my mind and not knowing the family’s medical status made me uneasy,” he revealed.
Two days later, Art went to Akron Children’s Hospital to check on mother and baby.
After briefly talking with both the mother and father, they allowed him to see the baby.
“Little Domingo was all wrapped up in burn gauze to aid his recovery,” said Art. “His entire face and some of his torso was covered – except his eyes and mouth – but he and his mother, who sustained minor burns, are expected to recover. The family set up a Go Fund Me account* to help offset some of the costs to treat Domingo. So I’m encouraging those who want to help this family to make a donation.”
Domingo’s parents were very grateful Art took the time and cared enough to stop when he did, though Art thinks he did what any concerned citizen would do: “I just feel lucky that I was in the right place at the right time to help.”
Authorities at the scene pointed out that Art’s quick thinking made all the difference in helping to save Domingo’s life.
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