One of those Calls You Never Want to Forget…


L-R Rhett Fleitz, Captain Wines, Bernadette, Kylie, Becky Smith, George Perdue

Two years ago, I traded a day with a firefighter on Captain Wines crew on E13. There we were…Captain Wines, Lt. Perdue driving, and me riding backwards. All of us EMT’s in a single engine firehouse. We got toned out for “one of those calls”. You know, one of those calls you wish you weren’t toned out on…one of those calls you hoped would be different when you got there than what dispatch was telling you was going on. I don’t remember how it went out exactly, but I remember the call well.

Baby Kylie shortly after birth

Baby Kylie shortly after birth

On August 21, 2012, baby Kylie was born at home. Her mother had been carrying her for 26 weeks. Quick thinking just prior to Kylie’s birth resulted in a 911 call that sent E13, M4, and RS-1 to the house. Engine 13 got there quickly. What we were met with we weren’t prepared for…in fact, this is one of those calls that you are only prepared for IF you had run a similar call in the past (experience) and maybe not even then. 

Luckily for us, Medic 4 moved as quickly as we did and were only a couple of minutes behind us. I met them at the ambulance with baby Kylie in hand. We treated with BLS and diesel fuel (driving as quickly and safely as possible). Baby Kylie’s mother was with us in the back of the ambulance. Becky Smith and Baraka Kasongo were on M4. RS-1 (Lt. Weaver met us on scene and rode in with us as well).

The truth is that we might not have done anything for Kylie although we tried. She was so small and so fragile that our equipment isn’t set up for a baby that fits in the palm of your hand. I like to think we had a hand in the positive outcome for Baby Kylie and her family, but in truth it was probably just God’s will and we were her the lifeline between her home and advanced care at the hospital.

I share these few details because we got to catch up with Kylie (now almost 2) and her mother Bernadette Freeman today. They met us at Station 4 and we enjoyed each others company. Captain Wines, Lt. Perdue, Becky Smith, and I were there. Lt. Weaver and Baraka Kasongo couldn’t make it. 

We shared our experience on the call and Bernadette shared her experience with the ordeal. She was grateful. We thanked her for sharing Kylie with us.

It isn’t often that we get to experience these positive outcomes after we leave them at the hospital. Sometimes we don’t want to know what the outcome is. Either way, I have found that emotionally it is better for me to live life with the realization that many of our “bad calls” could have had positive outcomes.

Fortunately for Kylie, she has no deficiencies from her premature birth. As with most preemies, she has experienced some developmental delays that eventually will even themselves out. That is just part of not getting to develop during the full 40 weeks inside the womb.

Much of the credit for our actions should be given to Captain Wines on arrival, and Becky Smith and Lt. Weaver whom I rode in with in the back of Medic 4.

Thank you for sharing Kylie with us Bernadette. I hope to stay in touch as the years progress. God Bless

(I got approval to share Kylie’s story and birth picture from her mother)

– Rhett Fleitz
The Fire Critic