Retired firefighter rescues drowning toddler


COLUMBIA, Tenn. (WKRN) — A Columbia three-year-old is alive and well after almost drowning in a swimming pool. Today, the child’s family is calling their neighbor, a retired Columbia firefighter, a hero after he jumped two fences, rendered CPR, and saved the little boy’s life.

It all happened around 3 p.m. Sunday in Columbia. That’s where a 3-year-old named Aunyx was pulled lifeless from an above-ground pool at a neighbor’s house two doors from the 53-year-old Lon Osmon.

“God put me in the right place at the right time,” Osmon, a 27-year veteran who retired in November 2018, said.

“He is a hero! He is definitely a hero,” Joann Cedillo says with passion.

Cedillo, a long time family friend who calls herself the child’s grandmother, almost comes to tears as she thinks about 3-year-old Aunyx almost drowning in her backyard pool.

“To see that baby laying there; the pain in my heart. I could not breathe,” said Cedillo.

Cedillo says she had dozens of people praying for the little boy.

“By the time I got outside, Lon, had just given him CPR. He jumped over 2 fences, and just as I got out there the first bit of water and stuff came. I don’t know what we would have done without him.”

Cedillo calls Osmon a hero sent by God.

“He was. He was. The doctor said it’s a miracle he is alive. It’s a miracle. The Lord made this happen. For Lon to be right there. He is a big man. To jump like that he is a hero.”

Osmon says by the time he got to the child, the little boy had no pulse and no life signs.

“The child was not breathing and there was no pulse,” said Osmon.

Osmon says he did three rounds of CPR and rescue breathing and chest compressions. Then, he heard a wonderful sound as the child began wailing.

“That was the best sound ever. The mom was trying to calm the baby down. I was like no. Let the baby scream and cry and get the air moving. It was the best sound I could have ever heard,” said Osmon.

Osmon says suddenly his old instincts kicked in.

“I’m doing CPR. I hear the sirens in the background. When I was on the truck, we were doing everything we could to get there, and looking back on the response times, 3 or 4 minutes that’s not bad. But when you are on the deck working on a kid; that 3 to 4 minutes seems like 30 minutes,” he says with a chuckle.

The child was taken to Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt by LifeFlight helicopter.

Cedillo says his oxygen levels were not where the doctors wanted them to be, but overnight, things dramatically improved, and by this morning the 3-year-old had his strength back and was eating pancakes and cereal. He is expected to make a full recovery.

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