A Pittsburgh police officer was being hailed as a reluctant hero Friday after he helped save a toddler who nearly drowned in Hampton the night before.
Zone 3 police Officer Corey Harcha was off duty Thursday night when he and a friend decided to go miniature golfing at the Wildwood Highlands amusement center.
When the 27-year-old officer pulled into the parking lot shortly after 9 p.m., he heard a woman screaming and then saw her running with a toddler in her hands. The boy looked lifeless.
"I asked her what had happened and she stated that he had fallen in the water and he's not breathing," Officer Harcha said at a news conference Friday afternoon. "So I asked her to place him on the ground. I identified myself as an off-duty police officer."
He said he handed his cell phone to a friend, who he thought placed the first 911 call.
For about two or three minutes, he performed CPR on the child. It was the first time in his six years on the force that he had to perform CPR on anyone.
When the child began to breathe again, "I felt a little bit of relief," Officer Harcha said.
The boy, whose name has not been released, was in serious condition Friday at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC.
It's not clear how he ended up in the water. Hampton police and Allegheny County homicide detectives, who are aiding in the investigation, could not be reached for comment.
Contacted Thursday night, a representative for Wildwood Highlands said, "We're not permitted to comment."
Pittsburgh police spokeswoman Diane Richard and public safety director Michael Huss praised Officer Harcha for his quick action.
"We told him it's a big deal because it's always a big deal when one of our officers can save the life of a child," Ms. Richard said. "We're here to help people no matter if we're on duty/off duty."
Officer Harcha was modest, saying he wouldn't consider himself a hero.
"I was just doing what I was trained to do," he said. "We're trained to separate ourselves from what's going on. You have a job to do."
Staff writer Lexi Belculfine contributed. Liz Navratil: email@example.com, 412-263-1438 or on Twitter @LizNavratil.