While millions were preparing to watch the fireworks, John Manzione sprang into action.
A retired firefighter, Manzione, a Maspeth native, saved a toddler from drowning, preventing an Independence Day tragedy.
Manzione was celebrating America’s birthday with family and friends in his yard when he heard neighbors scream “call 9-1-1” from two houses away.
Manzione, 57, who retired from engine 291 in Ridgewood after 32 years of service, rushed to see what was happening. When he arrived he found a motionless two-year-old. The boy had fallen into a small blow-up pool with about two-feet of water.
“He was unresponsive, limp, no pulse and his eyes were rolled in the back of his head,” Manzione said. “It doesn’t take much for them to be in distress.”
Manzione moved fast. Using his First Responder training, he initiated CPR on the boy until he detected faint breathing. EMS services arrived minutes later and put the child on an oxygen machine to help him breath.
They then took the toddler to Elmhurst Hospital, where he arrived in critical condition. He is now stable, according to Fire Department officials.
This was not the first time Manzione has aided people outside of fighting a blaze. He once had to help a man that went into cardiac arrest and he helped a woman deliver two babies in a house.
In this situation, he said, he just wanted to answer the call of duty.
“I was just helping out a child and parents that were in distress,” Manzione said. “I knew I had to get involved and help to make a difference. I’m a firefighter for life.”