Surprise firefighter helps save boy’s life in Mexico

Martin Navarrete knew he did all he could for the young boy on the clinic’s medical table in Mexico, and only a trauma center could do the rest.

While on vacation in the resort town of Rocky Point (Puerto Peñasco) last fall, Navarrete, a Surprise firefighter/paramedic, was called on to help a vacationer who faced life-threatening injuries after a watercraft accident.

The boy was cruising by on an apparatus and inched too close to a banana boat, Navarrete, 35, remembered. The boat’s

The boy had been hit.

It was Navarrete’s American emergency-medical services training and goodwill, colleagues say, that kept the boy alive. The Surprise Fire Department honored him last month at the annual fire banquet for this heroic act.

After the accident, the boy was taken to One Stop Clinic, one of the few full-service clinics at Rocky Point that stay open on Sundays. Navarrete’s cousin, a clinic employee, headed out to the clinic with Navarrete to assist.

Navarrete observed that the boy was semiconscious after suffering major trauma to his bicep and thoracic area, near his chest. He swathed him with bandages, administered an IV, eventually stabilizing the boy. Meanwhile, Navarrete was also trying to calm the child’s parents, he said.

However, the Surprise firefighter/paramedic knew the boy had to be taken to a trauma center immediately. The boy was asking for water, indicating his cells were not stable.

Soon after, Navarrete paid $300 for an ambulance ride that took the child to the border town of Lukeville. The boy, who was with his father, was then airlifted to St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center and entered surgery right away.

“The next day, I visited him,” Navarrete recalled. “I saw him, and he started crying. He was just very thankful. He said he was happy I was there to be with him.”

Last he heard, the boy was going through physical therapy to help regain motion of his hand.

Navarrete, a Mexico native, has a close tie to Rocky Point. His wife’s uncle, Adolfo Celaya, served as the city’s fire chief for 13 years. After Celaya died, Navarrete said he vowed to improve the Mexican public-safety agency. For the past six years, he has volunteered time about six to eight times a year to teach Rocky Point firefighters the latest in firefighting and EMS training.

Assistant Fire Chief Clint Mills accompanies him on these trips.

“He’s an exceptional person and firefighter who cares about people in general,” Mills said. “He helps whenever he’s needed.”

Navarrete has also facilitated bringing the Rocky Point fire chief and firefighters to Surprise fire stations, as a means to have both departments learn from each other, he said.

“This has allowed us to assist them when we can,” Mills said.

Navarrete said he hopes to host more Rocky Point firefighters either late this month or early May. In the past six years, he has seen their firefighting and EMS tactics improve considerably, he said.

His long-term goal is to propose that the city of Surprise form a sister-city partnership with the Mexican resort town.

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