Local News

May 8, 2010 11:42 PM by Danielle Lerner

Woman who helped save 9-year-old girl from drowning says she's no hero

Two women in Paso Robles spring into action to save a young girl from drowning in an apartment complex swimming pool.

It happened around 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Dry Creek Apartments in Paso Robles.

Firefighters are not sure how the girl got into the pool but they say she was not breathing, and had no pulse when they arrived.

Two women who live in the apartment complex started CPR before emergency crews arrived, something firefighters say saved the nine-year-old girl's life.

"I just knew something was wrong so I took off down the stairs," said Katrina Smith. "I didn't really think, I just thought I'm going to do everything I can to save this little girl."

Without thinking twice, Smith took action Tuesday night.

She teamed up with a complete stranger to give the nine-year-old girl CPR, as she lay lifeless and blue in the face beside the pool.

"In my mind I was saying she's already gone, but I wasn't going to not try," said Smith. "She was doing chest compressions and I was breathing for her, 30 compressions to two breaths."

Firefighters say the continuous flow of oxygen in the blood made all the difference.

"It was crucial," said Aaron Finigan, a firefighter with the Paso Robles Fire Department. "Having it started immediately prior to our arrival is imperative."

To promote safety the complex keeps the pool gates locked at all times, but some residents say that does not always keep kids from getting in.

"They just run out and open the gate for people whether they have a key or not, so that's usually how kids get in," said Julie Graham, who lives in the apartment complex.

Smith says that makes learning CPR and first aid, even more important.

You never know when you'll need it.

"I never thought I would really have to use it, I never wanted to use it," Smith said. "I just reacted, I don't want to be a hero, my only concern is that that little girl makes a full recovery, that will be my reward."

Smith believes the girl was just in town for a visit.

The girl is currently in a medically-induced coma at a Children's Hospital in Fresno.

Smith spoke with the girl's family who says her condition is improving.

She should be taken out of that coma in the next couple of days.

June is CPR Awareness Month and there is no better time than the present to get certified. To find resources on the Central Coast go to ksby.com and click on Newslinks.

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