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Smith: Boy thanks rescuers at firehouse reunion in Graton

There had to be a story behind the burritos-and-cake party Tuesday evening at the Graton firehouse that starred a spirited, adorable kid of 4 1/2 in a red firefighter's outfit and unabashed bliss.

He's Joshua Cazares of Santa Rosa. In June of 2009 an impromptu team of Graton and Cal Fire firefighters and Sonoma Life Support ambulance medics saved his life as it was beginning, traumatically, on a kitchen floor.

Joshua's birth mother had gone into labor while visiting people in Graton. The responding firefighters, paramedics and EMTs quickly determined the baby was several months premature, in the hazardous breech position — feet first — and showing scant signs of life.

Upon easing the blue-hued child into the world, the rescuers went to work attempting to bring him around.

"He was not breathing for at least 12 or 15 minutes," recalled Brion Borba, a Cal Fire captain.

Though there were seasoned firefighters and medical personnel on the call, none had delivered a baby — much less a lifeless one.

This was a new challenge for Borba and everyone else: Graton Fire Deputy Chief Bill Bullard, Capt. Robert Sabrowsky and firefighters Anthony Bopp, John Roche and Matt McKenzie; Cal Fire firefighters Jason Freyer and Kyler Walker; Sonoma Life Support EMT Les Mitsuoka and paramedic Rob McKay.

Reliving the scene, Borba said, "It was like, 'Lord, help get this child breathing!'"

AT LAST, a tiny sound emitted from the newborn's mouth. He took a shallow breath and quickly his skin began to turn pink.


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