SAUGUS -- A Wakefield couple got more than they bargained for Tuesday when they went to Sears and came home with an addition to their family.
Fire Chief James Blanchard said a call came in around 7:30 a.m. for a woman in labor at the Sears Automotive Center at the Square One Mall.
He said such calls are not unusual, but this one was a good lesson.
When firefighters arrived, prior to the ambulance or police, Blanchard said the woman warned them she tends to deliver fast.
"This was her third child," he said. "She was not a novice."
Blanchard said Firefighter EMTs Mike Barker, Damien Drella, and Lt. Chris Pozark immediately went to work to make the woman comfortable. They also checked to see if the baby was crowning, and when it wasn't, they figured they had plenty of time.
Blanchard said anyone who has been through the birthing process or watched it happen knows it generally takes a long time.
"There's a lot of pushing and crying and gnashing of teeth," said the father of two. "But there is a condition known as spontaneous birth - and she had it."
While firefighters checked the mother's blood pressure and gave her oxygen, the ambulance arrived. Paramedics then checked out the situation, but still, the baby wasn't crowning.
"They load her into the ambulance and close the doors. Then the guys (firefighters) go back to the ambulance about a minute and half later and the paramedics say the baby's coming and suddenly it just shoots out."
Blanchard said the woman gave birth to a healthy baby girl and added that it was a good lesson to the EMTs and the paramedics to listen to their patient.
"She knew everything that was going on," Blanchard said. "And mother and baby and father are doing fine . . . it was an exciting day, it's exciting for us to help deliver a healthy new baby."
Blanchard, who listened to the entire call over the radio, said he actually hoped the baby would be a boy.
"I was disappointed," he said, "because if they had a boy I would have insisted they name it after me because it's my birthday."
The call was also an eye opener for firefighter Mike Barker who just graduated from the Fire Academy two weeks ago.
"Here he is dying for a fire and he gets this call," Blanchard said with a laugh. "But it makes everybody feel terrific when you hear that baby cry... and this went just like clockwork."