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May 29, 2019

Triton College Fire Science faculty member helps save ‘miracle’ baby

Throughout his 20-year career as a firefighter/paramedic with the Chicago Fire Department and other area departments, Bill Justiz has provided emergency care for patients encountering a wide range of ailments.

But he says none of those calls were quite like what he encountered on the afternoon of May 7.

He and other first responders sprang into action when a woman brought a newborn baby to the Northwest Side firehouse at which he is stationed. The story made headlines throughout the area. Reports said the baby had been wrapped in a towel and left in an alley.

“We started CPR, ventilating, inserted an IV, warming the patient,” Justiz recalled.

The infant was then brought to a nearby hospital and at first the prognosis seemed dire. Eventually though, the baby began showing signs of life. His recovery has been described as a miracle, and it may not have been possible had it not been for the heroic actions of Justiz and his colleagues.

“It’s critical to be ready for situations like this,” he said. “We undergo a lot of continuing education training to make sure we are prepared.”  

In addition to his role with CFD, Justiz is also the faculty member and coordinator of Triton’s Fire Science Program.

“I try to emphasize to students that while most of the calls that they go on will seem routine, but sometimes their training and preparedness can save someone’s life,” he said.  

Justiz, a graduate of Triton’s Fire Science Program himself, teaches EMT and fire science courses. He is also a part-time lieutenant of the River Grove Fire Department.

Triton’s Fire Science and EMT Program features faculty made up of professionals like Mr. Justiz who currently serve as firefighters or paramedics on surrounding fire departments. This program is based on the curriculum recommended by the Fire Emergency Services Higher Education (FESHE) division of the United States Fire Administration (USFA). For more information about Triton’s Fire Science Program, contact williamjustiz@triton.edu.