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How Cape firefighters saved baby Bronlyn-Lee's life

Panicked, confused and seemingly helpless, Chantel Jansen headed for the nearest place of hope she could find – the Belhar fire station. She was desperate for help as her baby’s life began to slip away.

Firefighters pictured with baby Bronlyn-Lee. Picture: Supplied

CAPE TOWN - It was the first day of June, a chilly Saturday at the beginning of winter, when Chantel Jansen’s world was turned on its head. Her baby, Bronlyn-Lee, just two weeks old, had suddenly stopped breathing and was beginning to turn blue.

Panicked, confused and seemingly helpless, Jansen headed for the nearest place of hope she could find – the Belhar fire station. She was desperate for help as her baby’s life began to slip away.

Within seconds of Jansen arriving, firefighters took action and cleared the mucus from Baby Bronlyn-Lee’s airways and administered oxygen. After several tense minutes, she started crying and regained her natural colour. She survived. She was one of the lucky ones.

On Friday, Jansen and her now four-week-old baby visited the fire station to thank the staff for their heroics. Staff at the station and contacts handed over baby clothes to the little girl.

Firefighter Alroy Pieterse said that Saturday morning he found the mother in the engine bay. He then realised that baby Bronlyn-Lee was not breathing and immediately assisted.

“Usually, we don’t have good results on babies. We try our utmost and give our utmost support and expertise to the patient, and this time we were lucky to revive this baby. So there’s a good ending to this story”.

His colleague Liesl George, who also helped, said when they noticed the baby reacting to treatment, the crew was relieved.

“When the baby made a huge sound, we were like, 'Yes baby, yes!’ We saw the colour coming back. When she was all pink and crying, it was joy to our hearts, because now we have a success story. Not where we have to say the baby passed on,” said George.

George initiated the follow-up visit at their house last week, where baby Bronlyn-Lee was all dressed up in pink. She then put the call out for donations on Facebook and people came forward.

“I just had to see her, alive and kicking, because when they left the station, we never heard from them again, and I just had to see her,” she said.

Jansen said she is thankful her baby’s life was spared. “I thank the Lord every day. And thank you to everyone who did not give up hope to save my baby.”

The City’s JP Smith said he applauds the actions of the staff members, not only in saving the life of Bronlyn-Lee, but also the added joy they’ve brought to her and her family. “These selfless acts where staff members go above and beyond the call of duty fill me with immense pride, because it embodies the spirit of safety and security, which is to serve and protect our residents.”

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