Editor’s note: This story has been edited to include Austin-Travis County EMS’ involvement at this scene.
AUSTIN (KXAN) — A scary situation in the hot heat of summer. A woman was found fighting for her life, fallen on a driveway and suffering from severe heat stroke in a Southeast Austin neighborhood.
Neighbors dialed 911 to call for help. Austin firefighters and then EMS arrived.
“It was extremely hot, to where it burned one firefighter’s knee when he knelt down,” Austin Fire Lieutenant Michael Padilla said. “Our priority was to get her off that hot concrete.”
Scott Hunter lives in the neighborhood and spotted the woman before the incident took place.
“She might have been a little bit incoherent, so I walked down the driveway and asked her if she needed help,” he said.
When firefighters found the 41-year-old woman, her temperature was around 104 degrees, meaning that it was only a matter of minutes in this life-or-death situation.
“You could feel her, she was hot to the touch,” Padilla said. “Imagine having a fever, it was way hotter than that.”
That’s when EMS said they moved the woman to an ambulance to continue care, but it wasn’t enough.
“Austin-Travis County EMS medics recognized that they needed a more aggressive form of cooling,” Captain Darren Noak said.
The Engine 49 crew told KXAN they came up with a creative solution, alongside EMS, asking the homeowner if they could use her bathtub to cool down the patient.
“Pretty crazy question when random people come and ask if we can use your bathtub,” Padilla said. “She opened her doors and pointed us that way.”
As the heat-exhausted woman was transported to the tub, neighbors gathered ice from their own freezers to fill it up. An ATCEMS district commander also grabbed a body bag from his truck and used it to help control the woman’s temperature.
After a few minutes spent cooling her down, ATCEMS medics took her in an ambulance to St. David’s South Austin Medical Center.
In the end, everybody played a part in saving a life.
“That lady that opened up her door made a difference in our patient’s life and death,” Padilla said.
According to first responders, the woman is still in the hospital being treated for burns that she suffered on her legs from the hot concrete.
Firefighters say this marks the second heat-related rescue they’ve had in the past two weeks. The fire department posted about the incident on their Facebook page.