By Kevin Deutsch
An off-duty Coral Springs firefighter paramedic helped save the life of a dying three-year-old boy, springing into action alongside her first-responder wife to rescue the drowning child, city officials said.
Coral Springs-Parkland Fire Department Lieutenant Kandice Oltz was on Dania Beach’s Whiskey Creek on April 25, about to go paddleboarding with her wife, Oakland Park Firefighter Paramedic Jennifer Oltz, when Kandice Oltz heard a commotion.
She turned and saw a frantic-looking man, who had been boating with his family, trying to run from the water with his motionless son in tow.
The boy had turned blue.
“The three-year-old was still wearing his floaties,” Coral Springs city officials wrote in an account of the rescue. “Kandice was with her wife Jen, who communicated to the family in Spanish, letting them know she and Kandice were first responders.
“Kandice swiftly took the child and laid him down on the sand, while Jen, and coincidentally an ER nurse that happened to be close by, assisted,” officials wrote. “Kandice pinched the boy’s nose, blew one good breath into his mouth, and saw the chest rise. The ER nurse took over, providing breaths, while Kandice gave the tiny boy chest compressions.”
As the boy started to breathe and gag and get his color back, Kandice turned him on his side, leading him to throw up the water. She then picked him up and ran toward the nearest parking lot, where paramedics with Hollywood Fire Rescue took over.
“Kandice exchanged numbers with family and paramedics on scene and has checked on the little boy making sure he had no long-term deficits,” officials wrote. “After this occurred, Kandice and Jen then had to answer a LOT of questions from her young twins who had witnessed the entire incident. As stressful as this might have been for all of them, we are sure they are as proud of their mom as we are.”
For their heroics, the Oltzes will be recognized by the Coral Springs City Commission at their Aug. 18 meeting.
Among those scheduled to be on hand to honor them: Coral Springs-Parkland Fire Department Chief Michael McNally.
“Lieutenant Oltz is an amazing leader in our organization and has been extensively involved in our community drowning prevention initiatives for years,” McNally said. “Whether on duty or not, our members will spring into action to help others.”
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- Kevin Deutsch is an award-winning crime journalist and author. A graduate of Florida International University, Kevin has worked on staff at The Miami Herald, New York Daily News, and The Palm Beach Post.
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