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Police officer rescues baby on Skyway

Patrick GallagherChicago Tribune

A Chicago Police officer who performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation on a 21-month-old boy who had stopped breathing is being lauded for helping out on the Skyway this afternoon.

The officer, Edward Paukula, has about 17 years on the force, according to Pat Camden, a spokesman for the Chicago Police union.

The baby was in the backseat of a vehicle traveling on the Skyway near 89th Street at 12:24 p.m. when family members noticed that the child was not breathing, according to a police News Affairs statement.

They stopped the vehicle and found the baby unresponsive, but the child's father turned to see a Chicago Police vehicle driving in his direction and flagged down the officer, the statement said.

The police officer cautiously removed the baby from the vehicle, gently laying him on the pavement, and began to perform CPR, the statement said.

After the child’s color returned, he began breathing on his own and then started to cry, the statement said.

Chicago Fire Department paramedics took the child to Advocate Trinity Hospital in “stable” condition, the statement said.

Chicago Police officials would not make Pakula available for an interview Saturday.

But Pakula is no stranger to being a “hero cop.'' He was hailed for saving the lives of residents in a burning South Side apartment building in November of 1999, according to a 1999 Chicago Tribune story.

According to the story, Pakula and Officer Patrick Gallagher arrived at the burning building in the 4600 block of South Michigan Avenue in the early morning hours of Nov. 12, and found people on the third floor screaming for help, police said at the time.

Gallagher and Pakula entered the building and began evacuating residents, including several families who were unaware of the fire which began from faulty lighting, according to accounts. They also led a blind woman from the building, police said.

"Anytime you can save everyone without any injuries, that's heroic," according to a spokesman. "Sometimes when you go to fires, you try your best but things don't come out as well as you'd like them to. In this case everything turned out well."

 rsobol@tribune.com

Twitter: @RosemarySobol1

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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