A Glendale man’s quick thinking helped save the life of a 1-year-old girl.
On Tuesday, the Glendale Fire Department gave Ray Espinoza with an award for his heroic efforts.
“It was the worst day of my life,” said Katherine Bruce, the girl’s grandmother. On July 13, Bruce was busy at the kitchen and was momentarily distracted. She lost sight of little Neveah Bruce, but then found her floating face down in the backyard pool.
“My first instinct was to jump in, but I don’t know how to swim,” said Katherine Bruce. “[Espinoza] was just an angel, took the baby and said, ‘I can help you.'”
Glendale firefighters said that, when Espinoza saw the lifeless body of the victim, he immediately began CPR and continued until Glendale paramedics arrived. Upon arrival at Phoenix Children’s Hospital, the child was breathing on her own.
Coincidentally, Espinoza was scheduled to get a ride to work, but when the ride didn’t show up he began to walk to work and just happened to pass the victim’s home at the exact time of the incident.
“Everyone was screaming and I…I don’t know,” said Espinoza. “I was just focused on what I had to do.”
Espinoza was certified in CPR as a teenager when he was attempting to become a lifeguard, and simply relied on what he remembered from that time in his life.
“Good to know that I was there that day and I knew how to do CPR,” said Espinoza. “I’ve never done anything big like this in my life and for people to be like, ‘Oh wow. You’re a hero.’ It’s overwhelming.”