KILGORE — A child nearly drowned Thursday night at the Kilgore City Pool, but the quick response of teenage lifeguards and Kilgore firefighters saved her.
Few details were available Thursday evening about the child. Officials say she is about 5 years old and was being taken to Dallas for additional care after she was resuscitated then regained consciousness en route to a local medical facility.
According to Kilgore Fire Chief Johnny Bellows, “The child was awake and crying before she arrived at the hospital,” he confirmed Thursday evening. “Lungs appeared to be clear, but they’re transporting to Dallas just to be safe.”
From initial information, the girl, along with friends and family members, visited the pool Thursday afternoon. She initially swam with the help of a life jacket but reportedly shed it at some point.
Sometime after 5:15 p.m. as the group of children crossed a 4-foot-deep section of water, the girl apparently went under the water and didn’t resurface.
One of the lifeguards on duty jumped in and pulled the girl to the wall of the pool, Kilgore’s Special Services Superintendent B.J. Owen reported. According to Owen, the child was not breathing.
“Two guards pulled her out,” he said, “while others called 911 and cleared (the) pool.”
The girl had no pulse, and the lifeguards began CPR. Kilgore firefighters were sent about 5:30 p.m. A crew already was in the area and arrived within three minutes of the call, Owen said.
The firefighters lifted the girl by her feet to help clear her lungs, he said, adding that she was breathing on her own within three to five minutes.
According to city officials, 14 lifeguards were on duty at the time, eight of them actively monitoring the pool.
Shaken by the event, Owen said he is grateful for the rescue and hopeful for the girl’s recovery.
“Everyone did what they were supposed to, and everything worked the way it was supposed to,” he said. “This is why we have lifeguards.”
No further information was available as of Thursday evening.