Two strangers from New Jersey are being called heroes after they rescued a baby who was trapped in a hot car.
Sara Mazzone, 30, went to a Kohl’s in Howell, New Jersey, to buy some clothes on a particularly hot day. It was in the parking lot, on her way to the store, that she discovered a horrifying scene.
Mazzone heard a crying infant and followed the sound to find an unattended 4-month-old baby girl strapped into a car seat, partially under a blanket, with the windows rolled up, according to News 12 New Jersey.
She noticed the baby was bright red and “breathing quickly, hyperventilating, and clearly in distress.”
The door was locked and Mazzone started to panic as the child’s time seemed to run out.
Luckily, the infant’s screams caught the attention of Steve Eckel, who happens to be an ex-cop.
“I said, ‘There’s a baby locked in the car, we need to get help right away,'” Mazzone said.
“It was screaming, hands were out sweating,” Eckel said. “And then I remembered I had a sledgehammer. I bashed the window.”
When Mazzone and Eckel removed the child from the car, the two strangers “took all of her clothes off and cooled her down,” Mazzone explained. Then they took the baby into an air conditioned store, called the cops, and waited for them to arrive.
Karen Gruen, 33, finally came out of the store, where she was shopping inside for 40 minutes, after authorities arrived, reports WABC.
Police were investigating the scene when Gruen noticed her vehicle’s window was broken and started to worry.
“She walked up and the cops didn’t say anything, and all of a sudden said, ‘Where’s my baby?'” Eckel recalled.
The mother was arrested and charged with endangering the welfare of a child. The father took their baby back to the couple’s home after the infant was determined to be healthy.
According to local reports, temperatures in Howell reached 91 degrees that day. After 30 minutes inside a locked car, temperatures can reach 124 degrees, reports News 12 New Jersey's meteorologist Dave Curren. If these two good Samaritans had not been in the right place at the right time, the baby girl may have died.