COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho - The toddler who was trapped underwater when her family's SUV rolled into Fernan Lake last month is now walking and talking again.
14-month-old River Deshazer has been released from Sacred Heart Medical Center. But for Blaine Porter, the firefighter whose quick thinking saved the little girl's life, the whole situation is bittersweet because River's brother didn't make it.
Porter has been a member of the Coeur d'Alene Fire Department since 1995 and was one of the firefighters that responded when the Deshazer family's SUV slid into the lake.
"My captain Rich Halligan had said we need to be prepared for a water rescue," Porter said.
Porter and Captain Halligan wasted no time to get into the water to save the children. Once in the water, they couldn't see anything as the vehicle slid into deeper water.
Porter thought of using Scott Air-Paks, or breathing equipment to see and breathe better. The only catch was that those air packs are not meant for underwater rescues.
"It's designed to keep air and toxic smoke and gas out ? not designed to keep water out," Porter said.
"It was an extraordinary situation. So the means we employed probably wouldn't be used again. But it worked this time," he added.
Along with a light he was carrying, Porter made it down to the SUV, reached through an open window, got the door open and handed the children up one by one to Halligan.
5-year-old Evan Deshazer died but Porter's actions helped save Evan's little sister's life.
"I'm very pleased River is doing very well," Porter said. "I wish that I'd been able to do more for her brother."
The Deshazer family says they are very thankful to the firefighters for their quick and speedy actions. As for Porter, he was humble about the rescue, saying he was " just the guy who did the job."
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