Pittsburgh officer's off-duty heroics give toddler chance to live
When a woman ran to him carrying a lifeless toddler, off-duty Pittsburgh police Officer Corey Harcha said his training kicked in.
“He was not moving. He was unconscious and his lips were blue,” Harcha said Friday at police headquarters in the North Side. “I started with chest compressions and then gave him mouth-to-mouth.”
Harcha continued rescue efforts until the boy, 2, seemingly came back to life and started to cough.
“I felt a little bit of relief,” said Harcha, a six-year veteran of the force assigned to the Zone 3 station in Allentown.
The boy remained hospitalized in critical condition a day after the incident Thursday night at Wildwood Highlands Family Fun Center in Hampton. Police did not release the identities of the child or his family members.
Harcha said he had just arrived to play miniature golf when he heard a woman screaming. She told him she was the boy's aunt.
“She was just screaming,” he said, though she wasn't saying anything that he could understand. “She ran out with the baby in her arms.”
The woman told Harcha the boy had wandered away, he said. Emergency dispatchers said someone pulled the toddler from a pond.
Hampton police referred questions to Allegheny County Police, who are investigating. Lt. Andrew Schurman did not return calls seeking comment.
Wildwood Highlands offers snow tubing, bumper boats, miniature golf, go-carts, kiddie rides and laser games. An employee who answered the phone on Friday said the company had no comment.
Pittsburgh police spokeswoman Diane Richard said Harcha's actions show police work goes on even when an officer is out of uniform.
“It is a big deal when any of our officers can save a life, especially the life of a young child,” Richard said. “We're here to help people no matter if we're on duty or off duty.”
Pittsburgh officers are certified in CPR every two years, Richard said. The training involves learning how to perform CPR on an adult, child and infant, and includes a first aid course, she said.
“I just did what I was trained to do,” Harcha said. “We're trained to separate ourselves from what's going on when you have a job to do.”
Margaret Harding is a Trib Total Media staff writer. Reach her at 412-380-8519 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Crosby, Malkin to miss start of Penguins camp
- Route 22 accident snarls traffic
- Charges filed against man shot by police in Bell Township
- Number of jobs in high-tech industry outpace workers in Pittsburgh, nation
- City of Pittsburgh detective, 2 boys finalize adoption before judge
- Starkey: Two amazing Pirates fans
- Pirates hit 3 HRs in rout of Red Sox
- Steelers defense a long way from ‘greatest of all time’
- Strong rip currents kill 2 men in Ocean City
- Priest: Mourners in ‘disbelief’ at Pennsylvania trooper’s death
- Penguins notebook: Martin not concerned about expiring contract