It was a snowy February morning when EMT Chris Mateja and partner Tom Miller caught word of a fire involving young children and jumped into action.
The pair braved icy, white-out conditions to join crews battling a Feb. 13 house fire on the city's west side where a woman and her six-year-old son had been pulled to safety with severe burns — her elder son, 9, remained trapped inside.
The house on Hubbell was fully involved, with fire coming out every door and window. Mateja estimated that the boy had been inside for at least 20 minutes before he was pulled from the blaze in cardiac arrest by firefighters.
The EMTs quickly began administering lifesaving aid to the child, restoring his pulse as the rig raced to Sinai-Grace hospital.
"Day in and day out, it's what we do. It's our job. The training kicks in, and you do the job you are supposed to perform," said Mateja, 35, who has been a medic in Detroit for five years. "We just try to save a life."