SWAMPSCOTT -- Firefighters on a ladder truck participating in the Fourth of July Parade stopped along the route to save a small child from choking.
According to Firefighter Richard Blake, Ladder 21 was driving past the intersection of Redington and Humphrey streets when he noticed a small group of people who appeared to be panicking. He quickly assessed the scene and realized the commotion was because a small child was choking on a piece of candy.
Blake alerted Lt. James Potts and the ladder truck came to an abrupt halt. Firefighters rushed to assist the boy, who they said appeared to be about 4 years old.
Blake said the child was red in the face and unable to speak or expel the object. After giving the child a few back blows, the candy was dislodged and the child started breathing normally.
A parade spectator had been performing the Heimlich Maneuver but the child was still choking when Potts, Blake, and Firefighter James Snow arrived on the scene.
According to Jennifer Bleiker, the Fire Department's public information officer, few people realized what was happening.
"Everything transpired so quickly that firefighters were able to return to the ladder truck and complete their role in the parade without much fanfare," Bleiker said.
Potts and Blake both downplayed the incident as being part of the job.
"It was no big deal," Potts said.
Bleiker said after the candy was dislodged, the boy continued eating candy and did not appear to be alarmed by the incident.
"After hugging his mother, he appeared eager to continue enjoying the remainder of the parade," she said.
Fire Chief Richard Carmody said the incident shows how vigilant members of the department are, even when off-duty.
"Most of the guys in the department have kids," Carmody said.
"They are constantly watching and paying attention to everything, even when they are riding in a parade."