A young girl nearly drowned at Kilgore City Pool Thursday night, but the quick response of teenage lifeguards and Kilgore firefighters brought the child back from the brink.
Few details are available on the victim — officials say she is approximately 5 years-old and is being transported for additional care in Dallas 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 child and others (friends and family members) visited the pool the afternoon of June 27. 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 surface.
One of the lifeguards on duty jumped in and pulled the girl to the wall of the pool, B.J. Owen reported. According to the city's special services superintendent, the child was not breathing.
"Two guards pulled her out," he confirmed, "while others called 911 and cleared (the) pool."
The child had no pulse and the lifeguards began CPR. Kilgore firefighters were dispatched about 5:30 p.m. — a crew was already in the area and arrived within three minutes of the emergency call, Owen noted.
The firefighters lifted the girl by her feet to help clear her lungs, he added: she was breathing on her own within three to five minutes.
According to city officials, there were 14 lifeguards on duty at the time, eight of them actively monitoring the pool.
Shaken by the event, Owen is grateful for the rescue and hopeful for the child's recovery.
"Everyone did what they were supposed to and everything worked the way it was supposed to," he added. "This is why we have lifeguards."
No further information was available as of Thursday evening.