Firefighters deliver baby in car
A firefighter turned midwife today at the scene of a major blaze after learning his maternity ward skills watching the Channel 4 series One Born Every Minute.
Ross McLaren delivered Antoni Zimnicki, who weighed 4.16kg (9lb 2oz), after his mum Ewelina and dad Jaroslaw got stuck in traffic around two miles from the North Middlesex Hospital in north London because of the fire.
Mrs Zimnicka, who is now in hospital with her healthy newborn, said: "When I went into labour at home I thought I had a lot of time as my first baby's labour had taken a long time. But then the contractions started coming quicker and I told my husband we had better go.
"We set off in the car but we got stuck in traffic almost straight away because of a fire. Both ends of the road were sealed off and there were fire engines all around us. My husband rushed out of the car and told police we needed help.
"The fire brigade put a barrier around us and helped me and just as the baby was born the ambulance crew arrived in time to cut the cord.
"I was so surprised how quickly the baby arrived. He was healthy and he cried almost straight away. The firemen was excellent I can't thank them and the ambulance crew enough. "
A spokesman for London Fire Brigade said: "The car came through cordons asking for help as the woman was in labour. Two of the firefighters were called, Ross McLaren and his colleague Richard Hall. They went into the car and they could already see the baby's head at that stage.
"Ross said he knew what to do as his wife is an avid viewer of One Born Every Minute. An ambulance was called and the baby was delivered at 11am. The ambulance was called and the mother and baby went off to hospital."
Mr McLaren, part of the Blue Watch at Euston fire station, had been tackling the blaze for some time when he was called to help.
Mr McLaren, who has been a firefighter for 15 years, said: "The husband was driving and was in a bit of a panic. I could see that the lady in the back seat was in the middle of giving birth and when I looked I could see the baby's head.
"We began to give the mum oxygen and to try and reassure her. While Richie (Mr Hall) carried on doing that I ran round to where the baby was and kept telling the lady to push.
"Once he was born we rubbed him down to get his circulation going and when he started crying I knew it was going to be all right.
"We then kept mum and baby warm until London Ambulance Service arrived to take them to hospital."
He added: "It has definitely been one of the highlights of my career and it's not something I ever expected that I would do in my life.
"Someone said to me the other day that as firefighters we usually enter people's lives at their worst moments so being there at such a joyful occasion makes a nice change."
More than 70 firefighters were called to the blaze in a restaurant and a number of flats on the High Street, Ponders End, in the early hours of this morning. London Fire Brigade said 12 people had escaped before crews arrived.
A London Ambulance spokeswoman said: "We were called at 10.48am to Nags Head Road. We sent a single responder by car and an ambulance crew with the first of our staff arriving on scene in just over two minutes.
"Staff treated a woman, reported to be in her 30s, and she was taken as a priority to North Middlesex Hospital, arriving at 11.22 am."