Baby born in firehouse driveway narrowly escapes automated sprinkler system

AURORA, Colo. - Firefighters usually respond to emergencies, but Sunday morning an emergency came to them.

"Four in the morning, someone is banging on the back of the firehouse and it's not tragic. That was surprising," says Fire Engineer Zac Varela.

Almost instantaneously, they got a call as well and crews prepared to head out.

"When I see the door come open, there’s a gold SUV on the ramp. I am thinking, ‘What idiot parked on the ramp at the firehouse?'," says Varela.

"23-year-old female is in labor. Her water broke and she's having contractions about one minute apart," says a dispatcher on the Radio Reference website.

Varela says the pregnant woman was in the passenger seat of the SUV whose mother was trying to soothe her.

Firefighters then laid the mom-to-be down on the lawn on top of a blanket. "We are prepared to deliver this baby right on the front lawn. Fortunately, our ambulance pulled up at that time," says Varela.

And not a moment too soon. "As soon as we picked her up, we heard that hiss, that 'whew' and they opened up," says Varela of the enthusiastic sprinkler system.

They saved her from a soaking and lifted her into the ambulance.

"She said, 'I have to push.' Our guy said, 'Go ahead.' And two pushes and we had a baby girl right there," says Varela. Right there in a makeshift delivery room near a busy intersection of S. Iliff Ave. and S. Blackhawk.

"Baby was born in the wonderful neon lights of Firehouse 7 and Applebee's," he says.

The new mom was carrying on an uncommon family tradition. "Grandma explained how almost 20 years to the day, the new mom was born in the back of an ambulance and delivered by Aurora firefighters," says Varela.

It’s a tradition that certainly upstages the traditional firefighter fodder of burning buildings and car accident carnage. "We are really happy when we deliver a healthy baby. A lot of our calls don't always go that great," he says.

The baby girl was born at 4:22 a.m., not more than 10 minutes after mom and grandma arrived at the fire station.

“Rather than giving birth on the freeway, I guess they chose our firehouse,” he says.

Mom and baby are doing just fine. For medical privacy reasons, firefighters couldn't tell us their names.