Fort Plain firefighter honored for helping save baby

FORT PLAIN — Kane is an active one-year-old, but last month, he went down for his nap and his lips turned purple.

Fort Plain Volunteer Fire Department Assistant Chief and paramedic Justin Smith heard the call.

“I was actually at my house playing outside with my kid and the fire alarm rang. It came in for a one-year-old that was unresponsive and not breathing.”

He went right from his house February 26. Records show he arrived in just four minutes.

“He was unresponsive, he was not breathing,” Smith said. “That’s why I took right over and started CPR to try to give the little guy the best chance that I could.”

The fire chief is glad Smith was on the call because he’s so good at what he does.

Smith was joined by others in the Fort Plain Volunteer Fire Department, Canajoharie Fire, the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, and St. Johnsville Ambulance– all focused on one little body, working to save a baby’s life.

“We all were providing patient care, and miraculously he ended up regaining a pulse and breathing on his own. We got him in the ambulance and he started to cry, open his eyes, so that was a crazy feeling, for sure.”

Kane started to open his eyes.

“I can’t thank them enough,” said Kane’s mother, Makaila Belden. “I cannot thank them enough for being able to hold my baby in my arms again and just the life I know he’ll get to have.”

Smith is also a sergeant in the sheriff’s department.

He’s got 15 years with EMS, 13 of those as a paramedic.

“Volunteer firemen leave their families at a time of need for other families,” he said. “We’re training constantly, always taking classes. and that’s what you have to do in order to have outcomes like this.”

Hearing the baby cry was a wonderful moment.

“A lot of emotions. Joy. Happiness that the stars aligned for this little guy. It’s not that often that we get that outcome, unfortunately, but when you’re dealing with a one year old that was in cardiac arrest and now he’s crying and looking at you, it’s an amazing feeling.”

Smith was honored Monday night at the Fort Plain Village Board Meeting at the Senior Center.