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Monday, March 4, 2013

They Gathered Only Twice: The Team of People Who Saved Two Lives

The script read at the awards ceremony started out: “Amidst a severe winter storm on December 9, 2012, Richfield emergency personnel responded to an unknown 911 call in the 7300 block of Garfield.” The call began when Richfield dispatcher Lynn Werner began receiving multiple 911 calls from emotional callers. She remained calm as she “filtered” out the information, determined what was happening, and got the location. She was also immediately dispatching the responders. That is what people like Lynn do well.
The reunion - first responders, citizens, and the children they all saved
The first to arrive was Sergeant David Kromschroeder. Kromie, as his partners call him, was met by citizens Brianna Rheinhart and Brian Newkirk, who told him there was a child drowning in the in-ground pool in the backyard of the residence. The three worked together to break down a six-foot privacy fence that surrounded the pool and observed not one but two children in the pool! The award ceremony described what they saw as, “An 8-year-old boy struggling to stay above the surface of the water in the shallow end, and a 6-year-old girl unconscious in the deep end.”

Sgt. Kromschroeder and Newkirk jumped into the water and worked with Rheinhart to get the boy out of the pool. Kromschroeder headed to the deep end of the pool to rescue the girl. He slipped and was suddenly submerged in the icy 32-degree water. He found the girl and—again with the help of Rheinhart and Newkirk—got her out of the water. The citation reads: “At poolside, in blizzard conditions, Sgt. Kromschroeder immediately began to administer CPR to the unconscious child.” 

A thank you note from the girl who was saved.

Officer Greg Peterson was the next to arrive. He assisted Kromschroeder until they were relieved by Richfield firefighters and HCMC medics. The council citation reads, “The children were transported to HCMC, where the boy was treated for hypothermia and the girl remained in critical condition in the pediatric intensive care unit for more than a week.” Both of the children have made a full recovery with no long-term health concerns.

Recently this exemplary group of people gathered a second time to receive awards at a Richfield City Council meeting. Everyone was there, including the survivors. Sgt. Kromschroeder’s remarks were focused on the bravery of the citizens and the victims. On that day in December, they were all links in a chain that brought together values, commitment, training, and professionalism in an environment filled with danger and stress. And together, they saved two lives.

Congratulations to the citizens and all of the responders. We also salute the City of Richfield for taking the time to acknowledge what they did on that snowy day in December.


                                         Responder Safety = Public Safety

Up next time: “Working on the Suspense Files—The Black Hole of Criminal Records”

In the meantime, stay safe and be careful.


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