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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