City Honors Firefighters for Saving Drowning Child

By George Slaughter

Katy Firefighters were honored Monday at City Hall. Pictured are, from left, Mayor Chuck Brawner, Harry Haynes, Rolando De Leon, Julio Garcia, Michael Ondruch, Taylor Kunicki, Neil Lange, Trey Lee, and Chief Russell Wilson. Not pictured, but part of the crew, are Christian Kugler and Geffrey Argao – George Slaughter photo

The City of Katy honored firefighters Monday night for their efforts in saving a drowning child.

On Sunday, March 3 at 6:33 p.m., dispatch received a 911 call for a drowning three-year-old male at the Homewood Suites pool. The Katy Fire Department responded out of Fire Station #2 and arrived at the hotel pool in just 47 seconds. Firefighters and EMS immediately performed CPR and was able to revive the child.

The child was taken to Texas Children’s West and is stable.

The incident occurred just over a day after the city opened its second fire station, 25420 Bell Patna.

Mayor Chuck Brawner and Fire Chief Russell Wilson honored crewmembers Harry Haynes, Rolando De Leon, Julio Garcia, Michael Ondruch, Taylor Kunicki, Neil Lange and Trey Lee. Also honored, though not present at Monday’s meeting, were Christian Kugler and Geffrey Argao.

Brawner said that Lange, the dispatcher, did an excellent job of talking through the life support measures until the firefighters arrived. One firefighter, Kunicki, was at the station, but did not have an assigned position. When he heard the dispatch, he physically ran from the station to the hotel and helped on the call.

“Through the quick actions of our first responders, a child’s life was saved,” Brawner said. “There is no doubt that the parents of the young boy consider these first responders to be their child’s guardian angels, sent by God, to save him and for that they will forever be heroes in their eyes. Thank you for wah you do every day.”

Wilson said when he was hired as fire chief, he was charged with the task of competing the fire department’s transformation from a volunteer department to a full-time, professional department.

“These fine folks are representative of your professional Katy Fire Department,” Wilson said. “I don’t discount at all what this crew did, but I will tell you that you could put about any crew from the Katy Fire Department in that situation and they’re going to act in a similar way. They’re going to act in a professional way.”