An Elmwood Park fire chief bolted from his home after a neighbor whose 4-year-old daughter was drowning in a backyard pool banged on his door Sunday night shouting for help.
Second Battalion Chief Robert Bruce Sr., 43, scooped up the lifeless youngster, who by that point was “already turning blue,” Elmwood Park Fire Chief William Shadwell said.
"Just a few compressions" and the girl was breathing again, he told Daily Voice early Monday.
The 23-year volunteer firefighter "acted calmly and professionally,” Shadwell said. “Everyone was in a panic, but he kept the situation calm and saved the child’s life.
“I’m happy for her and her family and proud of him.”
For his part, Bruce said: "I don't consider myself a hero -- I was simply doing what I was trained and love to do, help my community.
"The outcome could not have been better," the hero firefighter told Daily Voice. "I am overwhelmed with emotion that I was able to assist in the life-saving efforts and wish the child a speedy recovery."
Borough Council Joseph Dombrowski called the incident “a story that must be told.”
“To say I am proud of Chief Bruce is an understatement,” said Dombrowski, the borough's fire commissioner. “Our community is grateful and lucky to have him and other volunteers like him in our town.”
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