MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (June 28, 2022) – A five-week-old baby locked inside a hot SUV was pulled to safety by fast-acting firefighters who broke the windows and removed the infant. An off-duty nurse assisted with other life-saving medical care until medics arrived.
The incident occurred in the parking lot of Kroger on Old Fort Pkwy. on Monday, June 13 at 5:16 p.m.
Murfreesboro Fire Rescue Department (MFRD) Engine 9 Firefighters Tyson Donaldson and Richard Goodyear broke the windows of the SUV, a 2013 Ford Escape, with a window punch. There were able to get the infant out of the hot SUV.
The baby was beneath blankets and strapped in a rear-facing child passenger seat. The infant was extremely hot, sweating, and barely breathing.
“The SUV was not running, and the infant had been inside the hot car for about 20-minutes,” said Donaldson. “Our number one priority was to get the baby out of the hot car as soon as possible.”
The five-week-old was immediately taken to a Murfreesboro Police Department officer’s patrol car to cool down in the air conditioning. Engine 9 crew members Captain Tim Lampitt, Firefighter Justin Dillard and Engineer Marc Cartwright assisted Donaldson and Goodyear with other life-saving medical care on the infant.
Ascension Saint Thomas Rutherford Hospital NICU off-duty nurse Melissa Nicholson approached and offered her assistance. Nurse Nicholson helped firefighters perform other medical care on the infant, which was invaluable in keeping the baby alive until personnel with Rutherford County Emergency Medical Services arrived and took over care.
“The outside temperature was 97-degrees at the time with a heat index of 108-degrees,” Donaldson said. “Without a doubt, the beautiful baby is still on this earth, thanks concerned citizens, emergency personnel and the off-duty nurse.”
“We want to remind parents not to leave children or animals unattended in a hot car,” said MFRD Assistant Chief Medical Services Jeff Wright. “It is not only dangerous, but potentially deadly with the extreme temperatures we’ve been experiencing.”
The baby, now seven-weeks-old, was evaluated at the hospital and is expected to make a full recovery.
The original call for service was for a welfare check.
A customer became concern after seeing the woman acting strange in parking lot and alerted store employees who called police.
An officer responded and found the woman, 27-year-old Alexandria Lee, standing outside the locked SUV, swaying to keep her balance, and appearing to be spaced out.
Police found a half-empty opened bottle of Tequila in the car.
Lee was arrested and is facing driving under the influence, and aggravated child neglect/abuse charges.
Lee is being held on $51,500 bond at the Rutherford County Adult Detention Center. A hearing is scheduled for Aug. 15 in Rutherford County General Sessions Court.