Firefighters help deliver baby in London street after woman in labour collapses on pavement

James Stennett delivered the baby next to Battersea Fire Station

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The Independent Online

A firefighter helped deliver a baby girl by a busy London road this morning after a woman in labour collapsed yards from his station.

James Stennett was manning Battersea Fire Station when he and his crew were called by worried members of the public to help the woman shortly before 11am on Monday.

The 42-year-old said she was lying on the pavement around 50 yards away looking “very obviously pregnant and very obviously in labour” as cars drove past.

“I took over from members of the public who had been very helpful in calming the woman down and shielding her, as it was close to a junction with the main road,” he added.

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The woman collapsed in labour near Battersea Fire Station

Firefighters parked a fire engine next to the mother-to-be and used flame-proof sheets to create a makeshift screen to give her some privacy.

After calling for an ambulance, they brought her a mattress from inside the station to make her more comfortable as they were joined by a passing midwife.

“I had a look to make sure the baby wasn't coming immediately and at the time it wasn't, so we were just waiting for things to progress,” Mr Stennett said.

But then the baby came much faster than expected “after two more pushes” and was born before paramedics arrived.

Mr Stennett said: “I started to rub her back to stimulate her and help her to breathe and then she started crying. She was given a little bit of oxygen then we put her on mum’s tummy.”

The mother and baby were taken to hospital by the London Ambulance Service.

Mr Stennett, who has been a firefighter for 13 years and previously worked as a paramedic, said the unexpected arrival was the sixth baby he had delivered.

He added:  “I've assisted in a lot more, but it's more difficult when you haven't got a maternity pack and everything you need.

“Of all the times I have been to women in labour, this was one of the easiest but only because everyone worked together.

“The guys were able to get me everything I asked for and it really went well because of everyone's efforts.”

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