Firefighter holding little girl after crash speaks on accident
SAN DIEGO (KUSI) — An emotional moment that was captured on video of that horrific crash was when a firefighter went to console the youngest victim.
Although she wasn’t physically hurt, the little girl was terrified.
It was the moment in the middle of a horrific scene that touched everyone. A Heartland Firefighter was seen consoling a frightened little girl.
"It was something that I recognized … she just needed someone to comfort her," said Ryan Lopez of Heartland Fire & Rescue.
Lopez went to check on 4-year-old Chloe Andarus, who was in an SUV that was hit by a tractor trailer that lost control on the freeway.
"I wanted to pick her up and give her some safety, give her some feelings of feeling safe in that moment," Lopez said.
Unlike her sister, who was also in the vehicle, little Chloe was not physically hurt, just terrified.
Lopez said he didn’t say much to her. It was his mere touch and how he responded to what she wanted that comforted her.
"She was more interested in being on me, maybe interested in looking at my tools on my jacket. So I tried showing her the tools on my jacket and I asked if she was OK," he said.
Lopez has been with Heartland Fire & Rescue for five years and a paramedic for a total of 11 years. But it was perhaps his daddy instincts that helped calm the fears of the little girl.
"I have little sisters. I have a newborn baby girl. She’s 2 months old, so I guess my instinct to comfort a little girl kicked in on overdrive and allowed me to just step outside of the routine assessment that we would do and just be a real person," Lopez said.
As for what’s next?
"We want to give the family space and express our sympathy to them and give them time so I’ll just go about doing my job as I normally do," he said. "If there was a chance to reconnect on a future basis that would be great."