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Oak Creek firefighter honored, saved baby on I-94 while off duty: ‘Meant to be there’

Data pix.

OAK CREEK -- What might have been pure luck turned out to be a life-saving coincidence.

Michael Wargolet

"For whatever reason, we were meant to be there at that particular time," said Michael Wargolet, an Oak Creek firefighter and paramedic.

On Feb. 17, Wargolet was traveling home with his family on I-94 in Illinois when they came across a car pulled over in the emergency lane -- and a person outside the car trying to flag someone down.

"You could see a woman standing by the car with something wrapped in a blanket, presumably a baby is what it looked like," Wargolet said.

Wargolet pulled over. He was immediately handed a 3-month-old baby who was without a pulse and was not breathing.

"I put him on the hood of the car because it's right at a good height and just started doing CPR on the baby," said Wargolet.

Oak Creek Fire Station

After two minutes of CPR while in the emergency lanes of the highway, the baby started to breathe and cry. The outcome could have been much different had it not been for Wargolet's quick action and expertise.

"That's probably the best music I've ever heard to my ears was him crying like that," Wargolet said.

Wargolet has been a firefighter for 30 years and a paramedic for 20 years. Ironically, just a week prior to the roadside encounter, he was re-certified for CPR. Friday, Feb. 28 he was honored for his life-saving actions.

Scott Kasten

"It's very important that he knew CPR because even a few minutes of CPR can help save a life," said Scott Kasten, battalion chief with the Oak Creek Fire Department.

Officials said the baby is doing okay and was released from the hospital. First responders encourage everyone to get CPR certified -- you never know when someone might be in need of it.

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