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First Responders to be Recognized After Saving Drowning Children

A 6-year-old girl and an 8-year-old boy were pulled from an in-ground pool during a winter storm in December 2012.

Thanks to the quick thinking of two citizens, as well as emergency, police and fire personnel, two children survived frigid water temperatures after entering an in-ground pool in Richfield last December.

A 6-year-old girl fell into the partially-filled pool and her 8-year-old boy cousin jumped in trying to save her. The girl was unconcious and in critical condition when finally pulled from the water.

Now those first responders will be recognized during an award ceremony at the Feb. 26 Richfield City Council meeting.

Related articles:

  • Near Drowning Victim Makes Full Recovery
  • Near Drowning in Richfield; 6-Year-Old in Critical Condition

The following is how the Richfield Public Safety Department described the scene on that cold December day in a recent press release:

Amidst a severe winter snow storm on December 9, 2012, Dispatcher Lynn Werner received a 911 emergency call from a hysterical female who was screaming for help.  Werner dispatched Richfield Officers to the 7300 block of Garfield Avenue on an unknown emergency 911 call.  Sergeant Dave Kromschroeder was nearby and responded to the unknown emergency. 

Upon arrival, Sergeant Kromschroeder was met by a neighbor, Brianna Rheinhart and her friend, Brian Newkirk.  Newkirk stated that a child was drowning in the in-ground pool located in the backyard of a residence.  The three of them broke down a section of the secured 6 foot privacy fence to gain access to the backyard and pool.  Once in the backyard, they observed two children in the water; an 8 year old boy struggling to stay above the surface of the water in the shallow end and a 6 year old female unconscious in the deep end.

Both Kromschroeder and Newkirk jumped into the frigid 32 degree water.  Newkirk assisted in pulling the 8 year old boy from the water with the help of Rheinhart and Kromschroeder went into the deep end to rescue the unconscious 6 year old girl.  The bottom of the pool was slippery and subsequently, Kromschroeder lost his footing and found himself fully submerged in the icy water as he struggled to retrieve the unconscious girl from the water.  Finally, with the help of Newkirk and Rheinhart, Kromschroeder was able to pull the child out of the pool.

At pool side, in blizzard conditions, Sergeant Kromschroeder immediately began to administer CPR to the unconscious child.   Sergeant Kromschroeder was joined by Richfield Police Officer Greg Peterson and they continued to administer CPR relieved by Richfield Fire and Hennepin County Paramedics.

Richfield Firefighters and Hennepin County Paramedics continued to treat both children while transporting them to the Hennepin County Medical Center.   The boy suffered from possible hypothermia and the girl was in critical condition.  In fact, she remained in the pediatric intensive care unit for more than a week.

Due to the extraordinary efforts taken by Brianna Rheinhart, Brian Newkirk and all First Responders, both children have made a full recovery with no long term health concerns.  The family is planning on attending the ceremony and will be reunited with the responders for the first time.

According to the department's press release, Police Chief Todd Sandell will present the following awards:

  • Richfield citizen Brianna Rheinhart and friend, Brian Newkirk will receive a Departmental Commendation Award for assisting arriving officers, directing them to the scene, rescuing the boy from the swimming pool and assisting Sergeant Kromschroeder.
  • Richfield Dispatcher Lynn Werner will receive a Departmental Commendation Award for filtering through several unclear 911 calls, while remaining calm during the incident and immediately dispatching public safety responders.
  • Richfield Police Officer Greg Peterson will receive a Departmental Commendation Award for his life saving efforts involving the 6 year old female.
  • Richfield Police Sergeant David Kromschroeder will receive a Medal of Merit for his self-sacrifice and devotion to duty without regard for his own personal safety when he rescued the unconscious 6 year old from the swimming pool and immediately administering CPR until properly relieved.

And Fire Chief Wayne Kewitsch will present the following awards:

  • Richfield Fire Captain David Quebodeaux, Firefighters Charles Russell, John Wolfgram and Joseph Halaska will receive Departmental Commendations for their life saving efforts.
  • Hennepin County Medical Center EMS Paramedics Kent Koelln, Amber Brown will receive Departmental Commendations as well.

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