‘I knew something was not right’: Off-duty firefighter credited with saving child during parade

POLK COUNTY, Fla. — A firefighter is being called a hero after he jumped into action and saved a child’s life during a Christmas parade in Florida.

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Dustin Bovill, who is a driver and engineer with Polk County Fire Rescue, was at the Havendale Christmas Parade on Friday morning, according to a news release from the county. While watching the parade with his family, Bovill said he noticed that a child on a float in the parade was having a medical emergency.

“While I was watching the float pass by, I saw the father’s expression as he looked up from the float and I knew that something was not right,” Bovill said in a statement. “After I saw the child’s father, I jumped onto the moving float in order to assist in anyway that I could.”

Bovill was able to clear the child’s airway, which saved his life.

“Driver/Engineer Bovill’s instinct to jump in and assist a citizen in need demonstrates our member’s readiness to serve whenever they are on and off-duty,” Polk County Fire Rescue Chief Hezedean Smith said in a statement. “Bovill’s actions and the care he provided to the child in need is something we are very proud of here at Polk County Fire Rescue.”

Bovill stayed on the float with the child until the end of the parade. At that point, the child was taken to a hospital by a rescue truck that was standing by.

The child was not identified.

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