9-year-old boy, good Samaritan honored for helping to save choking 3-year-old in South Pasadena

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SOUTH PASADENA>> The South Pasadena Police Department Thursday recognized a 9-year-old boy who called 9-1-1 to help save his choking 3-year-old sister, as well as a good Samaritan and the first responders who also rushed to the aid of the choking child.
The frightening incident unfolded Sunday afternoon at the family’s home in the 1100 block of Pine Street, after the mother of 3-year-old Yalaena Santos noticed she was choking on a grape, South Pasadena police Sgt. Mike Neff said.
The panicked mother, Jennifer Santos, scooped up the child and rushed outside to find help, Neff said. She handed her 9-year-old son, Jaequon Santos, the phone and told him to call 9-1-1.
The boy told the dispatcher what was happening and provided the address, Neff said. “He did a great job.”
Meanwhile, Max Storer, a local man on his way to work at Starbucks noticed the mother and daughter in distress and stopped to help, Neff said. He performed CPR on the choking girl prior to the arrival of police and fire officials.
Police arrived at the scene in about one minute, but were unable to dislodge the grape lodged in the child’s throat, police officials said in a written statement. Firefighters arrived about two minutes later, but were also unable to extract the grape.
So firefighters blocked intersections as firefighters rushed the girl, still struggling to breathe, about three miles to Huntington Hospital in Arcadia, police said.
“In the emergency room, (Huntington Hospital) doctors and staff were able to successfully remove the obstruction and the victim was admitted to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit,” according to the police statement. “The victim has since fully recovered with no adverse outcome.”
South Pasadena Police Chief Art Miller hosted a ceremony Thursday at South Pasadena City Hall to recognize those involved in saving the girl’s life, as well as give the family a chance to meet with the police and firefighters involved in the rescue.
Jaequon Santos and Storer were presented with certificates of appreciation, Neff said. The boy was also given a remote control police car, and his sister received a pink blanket.
“The good Samaritan trying to help, what a good guy,” Neff said.
As a result of the experience, Neff added that the mother had signed up to participate in a first-aid class at the South Pasadena Police Department, and encouraged other parents to do the same in case of a medical emergency.
First responders honored for their parts in the incident included South Pasadena police officers Darren Wong, Tom Jacobs and Louie Cetro, as well as South Pasadena police dispatchers Stephanie Barrientos and Catalina Valdez and South Pasadena Fire Department Capt. Eric Zanteson, paramedics Dan Dunn and Matt Robertson and engineers Mike Larkin and Rocky Bergstrom.

UPDATED: Choking toddler resuscitated in Irwindale

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IRWINDALE — Police, paramedics and hospital staff teamed to save the life of a toddler who was choking on a grape late Friday, authorities said.
Rescuers responded about 8:20 p.m. to a report of a choking 2-year-old boy about 8:20 p.m. at a home in the 16100 block of Central Street, Irwindale police Sgt. George Zendejas said.
“A minute and a half after receiving the call, officers arrived and discovered the child not breathing with no pulse,” he said.
Officers John Fraijo, Rudy Campos and Joseph Hardy were the first at the scene.
“(They) immediately began CPR on the lifeless child,” Zendejas said.”During the CPR, the child then showed signs of life with shallow breathing and a slight pulse.”
Los Angeles County Fire Department paramedics arrived and loaded the boy into an ambulance, the sergeant said. They continued treating him as police escorted the ambulance to Citrus Valley Medical Center – Queen of the Valley Campus in West Covina.
Hospital staff managed to remove the full-size grape from the boy’s throat using a vacuum procedure and revived him, Zendejas said. He was listed in stable condition in an intensive care unit Saturday.
Campos said he and his colleagues were pleased to learn the little boy was stabilized at a hospital.
The child was already turning a light shade of blue when officers arrived, he said. But the boy gave a cough and a cry as officers began CPR, which was soon taken over by fire department officials.
“We all have kids. That’s the first thing that goes through our minds,” Campos said. “Our thing was to get that child revived and breathing as soon as possible.”
In addition to commending the officers for their quick actions, Zendejas also commended dispatcher Sherry Peterson who handled the 9-1-1 call and Sgt. Rene Sapien, who supervised the shift.
“The Irwindale police officers’ quick response and immediate CPR efforts were instrumental in saving the life of the child.”
The incident appeared to accidental, and there were no indications of any negligence involved, he said.

PHOTO (left to right): Officer Rudy Campos, Officer John Fraijo, Sgt. Rene Sapien, Dispatcher Sherry Peterson and Officer Joe Hardy.

Elderly man badly burned in La Mirada house fire; wife douses flames with kitchen pan

LA MIRADA — A man was hospitalized with severe burns after he caught fire while igniting a fire in a fireplace, authorities said.
The 82-year-old man’s wife used a kitchen pan to douse the flames with water before firefighters rushed him to a burn center with third-degree burns over about 50 percent of his body, Los Angeles County Fire Department Capt. Greg Lombardo said.
The woman was taken to a hospital, estimated to be in her late-70s, appeared unharmed but was taken to a hospital as a precaution, officials said.
Officials first responded to the fire about 12:35 p.m. in the 13000 block of Gandara Avenue, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Jason Skeen said.
The man had been trying to light a fire in the fireplace when items nearby caught fire, as well as the man’s clothing, Lombardo said.
His wife, who was in the backyard at the time, came into the home. “He was on fire when she found him,” Skeen said.
The woman grabbed a kitchen pan and used to douse the fire, which was all-but-extinguished when firefighters arrived, Lombardo said.
Firefighters rushed the badly injured man to the University of California, Irvine Medical Center for treatment.
The fire was determined to be accidental in nature, Lombardo said.

San Dimas Mountain Rescue Team recruiting new members

SAN DIMAS — San Dimas Mountrain rescue team recruiting members
The San Dimas Mountain Rescue Team is recruiting new volunteer members interested in outdoor adventure and serving their community.
Founded in 1955 and part of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, the team is called upon to search for and rescue missing, trapped or injured hikers; rescue accident victims in the mountains; assist with evacuations during disasters and a host of other duties, team officials said in a written statement. Team members are on call 24 hours per day, 365 days per year.
“Team members continually train in search an tracking, mountaineering, climbing, rapelling, map and compass usage, helicopter extraction and other types of evacuation techniques, snow and ice rescue, swiftwater rescue and more,” according to the statement.
Each members also becomes a reserve deputy sheriff and is trained as a certified emergency medical technician.
An information meeting is planned at 8 a.m. Dec. 7 at the Mountain Rescue Station, 114 East First Street in San Dimas.
No experience is necessary, and all training is provided, officials said. Volunteers must be at least 21 years old, in good health, be a full-time student or have steady employment and have a clear background.
For an application, for more information and to RSVP for the informational meeting, visit www.sdmrt.com/joinus.htm.

Family rescued from burning apartment building in Pasadena

PASADENA — Firefighters used a ladder to rescue a trapped family from a third-story apartment Sunday, officials said.
The fire was first reported just after 5 p.m. at an apartment complex of about 30 units in the 700 block of Worcester Avenue, just north of Orange Grove Boulevard, Pasadena Fire
Department spokeswoman Lisa Derderian said.
Firefighters encountered “flames and heavy smoke” when they arrived, and police immediately began evacuating residents from the building, Derderian said. The fire primarily involved an apartment on the second floor, but damaged the units above and below it.
A family comprised of a man, woman and three girls became trapped on the balcony of their third-floor apartment, above the burning unit, Derderian said. The girls appeared to be about 2, 4 and 8 years old.
Firefighters raised a ladder to the balcony, where they brought down three girls and assisted their father in climbing down the ladder, she said.
The woman was unconscious and was carried out of the building by firefighters, Derderian added. She was hospitalized with possible smoke inhalation.
The three girls were taken to a hospital as a precaution, but appeared okay, Derderian said. The man also appeared unhurt.

Firefighters extinguished the fire in about 20 minutes, officials said. No other injuries were reported.
Though the fire mainly damaged three units, utilities to the entire building were shut off in the aftermath, Derderian said.
Officials summoned the Red Cross to help find temporary lodging for the residents displaced from their homes.
The cause of the fire remained under investigation late Sunday.

PHOTOS courtesy of Jaime Nicholson/Pasadena Fire Department

Officials rescue dog from Angeles National Forest

ANGELES NATIONAL FOREST — Search and rescue team members hoisted a stranded dog to safety Saturday after it tumbled 150 feet over the side of a steep cliff during a hike with its owner, authorities said.
A man was hiking with his dog shortly before 5:45 p.m. in the Dark Canyon area of the Angeles National Forest, off of Angeles Crest Highway about 5 miles north of the Foothill (210) Freeway, when the dog fell over the side of a hiking trail, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said in a written statement.
The 100-pound animal tumbled down a steep cliff and became trapped in debris, officials said. The owner was unable to rescue the dog himself and went to a nearby U.S. Forest Service Ranger Station to seek help.
Members of the sheriff’s Montrose and Sierra Madre search and rescue teams responded.
“Working in the rain and fog with 24 rescuers, the teams were able to rapel down 150 feet of a steep cliff to retrieve the dog who was stuck in debris,” according to the sheriff’s statement.
Team members calmed the frightened dog as they attached it to a hoist to they could being the animal back to the trail, officials said. The pet was then loaded onto a stretcher to be carried out of the canyon.
“The dog has minor injuries from his fall and is recovering with his grateful owner,” the statement said.

Rider and horse fall from cliff in Angeles National Forest

Authorities rescued a rider and a horse after both fell down a cliff Tuesday afternoon.
Sheriff’s Lt. Elisabeth Sachs said the Altadena station got a call at 2:55 p.m. about a man riding a horse who slipped down a cliff at El Prieto Canyon.
Deputies didn’t say how far the man and the horse fell.
The rider and the horse landed at different spots, according to Sachs. She said the man wasn’t injured and Los Angeles County firefighters cut a trail for the horse to walk out.
Sachs wasn’t sure if the horse was injured.
She said several agencies responded to the incident which included the Altadena Search and Rescue, Los Angeles County fire department, animal control and the U.S. Forest Service.

- Ruby Gonzales

Police, good Samaritans, pull suicidal man from Colorado Street Bridge in Pasadena

PASADENA — Police are crediting two strangers for rescuing a suicidal man on a bridge Tuesday night.
It occurred just after 11 p.m.
Pasadena Police Lt. Pete Hettema said a 37-year-old Los Angeles man, who was intoxicated, had crawled outside the Colorado Street Bridge. A woman saw him.
“(She) starts talking to him, ‘Don’t do this,’” Hettema said.
Another man showed up and grabbed the would-be jumper’s arm.
“That’s what saved his life. This guy was holding on to his whole weight,” Hettema said.
Three officers arrived. They grabbed the intoxicated man who was screaming at them and secured him to a wrought iron panel outside the bridge, according to the lieutenant.
He said Pasadena firefighters took off the panel and brought the man in. The 37-year-old was taken to a hospital for observation.
The man had been hospitalized before for other incidents.
On Monday, he fell on the tracks of a Gold Line station in South Pasadena and hit his head. A sergeant with the sheriff’s Transit Services Bureau said the man was drunk.
- Ruby Gonzales

UPDATED: Rescuers resuscitate drowning toddler in Angeles National Forest

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ANGELES NATIONAL FOREST — Search and rescue team members taking part in an ongoing search for a missing hiker Friday found and resuscitated a drowning toddler they discovered face-down in a creek, authorities said.
Members of the Montrose Search & Rescue Team, who were part of a week-long search for a missing Bakersfield man, came upon the toddler shortly after 5 p.m. near the Stonyvale Picnic Site, off of Big Tujunga Canyon road in the Angeles National Forest north of La Crescenta, Los according to Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials.
“Members of one of three teams came upon a 1-and-a-half-year-old girl, face down and lifeless in a pool of running water 200 yards away from the picnic area,” sheriff’s officials said in a written statement.
Search and rescue team commander and reserve sheriff’s deputy Janet Henderson, who is also an emergency room nurse at Huntington Hospital in Pasadena, and sheriff’s Reserve Chief Michael Leum rushed to help the girl, as well as the girl’s mother as she realized what was happening.
Henderson said she and her team had only joined the search minutes earlier Friday afternoon when they came upon the distressed baby.
“I looked up and I saw something in the water,” Henderson said. “I yelled for someone to get the baby. At that time, the mother saw that the baby was face-down.”
The mother and rescuers ran toward the baby, Henderson said. The mother reached the child first and pulled the unconscious girl from the water and handed her to Leum.
The girl’s skin was turning blue and she was not breathing, officials said.
“Mike slapped her on the back a couple of times, which actually made the baby expel some water,” Henderson said.
She added that the toddler slowly regained an increasing level of conscious before a helicopter arrived to take her to a hospital for further treatment, though she still showed signs of water intake.
By Saturday morning, she had been released from the hospital, sheriff’s Sgt. Cynthia Gonzalez said.
The toddler, an adult relative and a 3-year-old child had been sitting along the side of the creek prior to the incident, sheriff’s officials said.
The toddler apparently fell into the creek as the adult family member left her alone briefly to chase after the older child, who had run off.
“It was just one of those things: right place, right time,” Henderson said. “We are just happy to have been there to help her.”
After rescuing the drowning girl, officials said, the search and rescue team members re-joined the ongoing search for the missing hiker.
Ertug Ergun, a 33-year-old engineer and Turkish national from Bakersfield, was reporting missing June 20, according to sheriff’s Sgt. Burton Brink. He is an avid hiker told friends he was planning to go hiking before he went missing.
Rescuers launched a search for him in the Angeles National Forest after discovering his car in parking lot at the Stonyvale Picnic Site.
The search continued Saturday.
PHOTO courtesy of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department

Alhambra man dies trying to rescue daughter from Merced River

An Alhambra man died last week after he dove into the Merced River in Mariposa County to rescue his 14-year-old daughter, authorities said.
Alfredo Damas, 45, was pronounced dead Friday afternoon after he was pulled from the water in the Briceburg area, Mariposa County sheriff’s officials said in a written statement. His daughter was rescued.
The incident began just before 4:15 p.m. when authorities received a report that a 14-year-old girl was floating down the Merced River, apparently drowning, officials said.
“Witnesses report that the girl’s father, (Damas), entered the river to rescue her,” according to the sheriff’s statement. “Damas then also became distressed.”
Onlookers managed to reach the teenage girl and pull her to safety, the statement said. “Mr. Damas slipped under (the water) and out of sight.”
Witnesses reported the incident to a nearby Bureau of Land Management ranger, who began searching for Damas and soon found him submerged beneath about six feet of water, authorities said.
Rescuers at the scene performed CPR and attempted to revive Damas with no success, officials said. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Autopsy results were not available Wednesday, however investigators described the death as an apparent drowning.