Neighbors save toddler from drowning in apartment swimming pool


Video report by Tess Rafols

Posted on June 13, 2014 at 6:50 AM

Updated Monday, Jun 16 at 10:41 AM

Map: 6625 W. 17th Ave., Phoenix

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PHOENIX -- A little boy is lucky to be alive after an alert neighbor pulled him out of a swimming pool at a Phoenix apartment early Friday morning.

It happened just before 3 a.m. at the Palmera Apartments in the neighborhood southwest of 19th and Northern avenues.

A man who lives at the complex was awake and outside when he heard a splash, which he thought was odd for the middle of the night. When he went to investigate, he found a 3-year-old boy floating in the pool.

The man jumped in and pulled the child out and then started yelling for help. The toddler was not breathing.

Melissa Walls heard the man screaming. She started CPR on the unconscious child and was able to help him start breathing again. A mother herself, Walls was badly shaken by the incident.

"I was looking at him and it looked like I was looking into his soul or something," she said tearfully. "It looked like he was in between or something, like he was about to go, like he was about to die.

"I kept talking to him, telling him it was going to be OK, to fight," Walls continued. "I just kept pushing on him. I could feel the water just keep filling up inside of him. He kept throwing up that water. It kept coming out. I knew that was a good sign."

The toddler was conscious and breathing when paramedics took him to a local hospital. It's not clear if he suffered any brain damage as a result of oxygen deprivation. His condition and prognosis were not immediately available.

Police were on the scene for several hours, trying to determine how the child got out of his family's apartment and made his way to the pool.

At least one neighbor told 3TV's Tess Rafols that the pool gate does not have a lock.

Other neighbors said the child's parents are wonderful and always watching him. They also said the little boy loves to swim.