Man says he saved child from hot car

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Sunday, July 13th, 2014

(MGN Online)

Find an update to this story here.

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW)-- A man said he came across a toddler locked in a hot car, sweating, and appearing unresponsive on Saturday afternoon.

The fire department confirms they responded to the Woodcrest Apartments around 5:20 Saturday for a call about a baby in a hot car.

"I was like there's a baby in that back seat," said Nick Ortalaza.

A sight Nick Ortalaza never thought he'd come across after a day at the pool. Walking back to his car he says he found a toddler, alone, and in a hot car.

"When the little kid's head flopped over. I could see sweat trickling down his face and his shirt was already soaked, and it just became really real then," Ortalaza said.

Ortalaza knew he needed to act fast, and he says no matter what it took he was getting that baby out of there. He tried breaking the window, fearing it was too late, but then a glimmer of hope.

"I saw him move and I was like oh my god there's still a chance so I just grabbed the window as hard as I could and I peeled it back some and just stuck my arm in there and opened the door and got him out and i picked the kid up and he just felt lifeless. Ortalaza says he found a cell phone in the car, called the last number dialed and then a man ran out claiming to be the father.

"I'm like 'No, you're not taking this kid.' My fear was that he would jump in the car and leave and there's nothing that we could do," Ortalaza said.

Ortalaza says he called 911 and soon the Fire Department, EMS, and Richmond County Sheriff's Office responded.

Ortalaza says EMS told him the child was not over heated and going to be okay. A relief, but he says the outcome could have been worse in just a matter of minutes.

"It took us about 5 to 7 minutes to get him out of that vehicle and who knows how long he was in the vehicle before that or how long he would have been afterward had we not had seen him as we were passing by," Ortalaza said.

Ortalaza says the man told him he was visiting his uncle and was only inside for a couple of minutes. Something as a father he just cant seem to fathom.

"I hate to pass that judgement, but I don't know of anybody in today's day and age that has not heard one of these recent stories that has occurred locally, Atlanta, nationally, that's been going on where kids are dying in these cars," Ortalaza said.

Richmond County Sheriff's Office says that if a child is in a hot car and there are no injuries a parent can still be charged.

We've reached out to the Richmond County Sheriff's Office to see if any charges will be made, and to find out what the protocol is when emergency crews arrive to a scene like this. We'll let you know as soon as we hear back.

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