By Shirley Miller, Public Information Officer, Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station
CASTAIC – Santa Clarita Valley Station Deputy Christine Shaffer is being credited for helping save a 2-year-old girl’s life after responding to an emergency near-drowning call. On Saturday, Aug. 1, 2015, at approximately 8 p.m., Santa Clarita Sheriff’s Station received a chilling 9-1-1 call. A woman caller was on the other line screaming “that a little girl drowned in a pool.”
Saturday had started out as a celebratory day for the Cruz family of Palmdale, but almost ended with tragedy if it were not for the quick thinking actions of Deputy Christine Shaffer. The young couple and their two children, ages 2 and 4, were attending a joint birthday party for two of their relatives. The festivity was being held at Stonegate Community Pool located at 31830 Diamond Lane, Castaic.
As day turned to dusk, the party goers exited the gated, locked [the] community swimming pool and turned to other activities. Evidently while music played, children jumped in a bounce house, and adults talked with each other, a little 2-year-old girl quietly slipped away without anyone’s notice.
Her father had stepped inside the building for just a few minutes to get her older brother some food to eat. Not long after, he said he heard people frantically yelling “that there was a kid in the pool.” He ran outside and to his horror he recognized the lifeless form, it was his daughter.
The father, Freddy Cruz, raced to get in the gated pool but the door was locked and he had no key. With not a moment to spare, he rapidly scaled the 10-foot black iron fence that secured the pool and retrieved his daughter from the water.
When Santa Clarita Sheriff’s Station Deputies Jason Goedecke and Christine Shaffer arrived at the scene, the distraught parents had their small daughter lying on the cement sidewalk. Deputy Shaffer immediately sprang into action and began actively rendering emergency aid to the child while Deputy Goedecke flagged down the fire department and controlled radio traffic.
Shortly after, Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department Park Bureau Deputies Charles Weathers and Matthew Burnett arrived along with the Los Angeles County Fire Department. The Park Bureau deputies assisted in giving the little girl rescue breathes until she was conscious and breathing. She was then airlifted to a local hospital.
Los Angeles Fire Department Captain Long said if Deputy Shaffer “had not gotten to the scene as quick as she did and began treatment, we would probably be looking at a different outcome.”
The 2-year-old girl has since been released from the hospital and has made an amazingly full recovery. She suffered no brain damage as a result of the near drowning.
The Cruz family is filled with heartfelt gratitude to Deputy Shaffer; they thought they were going to lose their daughter.
Mario Luna, an uncle of the child said, “My family members and I are now looking into taking cardiopulmonary resuscitation classes. We realize the importance of them now because you never know when you’re going to need to use it.”
Training Officer Deputy Jeffrey Brito at Santa Clarita Valley Station commended the deputy that saved the little girl’s life and said “That child couldn’t have been in better hands.”
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the views of The AV Times.
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