Pinetop firefighters come to aid of alum's baby, dog

By Ashlee Larrison
GCU News Bureau

What started as a family reunion last month in Pinetop turned into a frantic 911 call to rescue a 9-month-old baby and schnauzer-terrier mix from a locked vehicle.

From left, Oscar, Matthew, Archer and Samantha Tabah

Grand Canyon Education curriculum developer and Grand Canyon University alumna Samantha Tabah, husband Matthew, son Archer and dog Oscar ventured to Pinetop Lakes Country Club to meet with family members who live in the area as well as some visiting from Nevada and Hawaii.

Near the end of the trip, after starting the car and securing Archer in his car seat, Samantha and Matthew went to gather their remaining items. When they turned around just a few seconds later, what they found sent the new parents into panic mode.

Oscar’s paw had pressed down on the vehicle’s lock button, locking the vehicle from the inside with the car keys in the ignition.

“Initially, I was prepared to just break down the door, like I was ready to just find a neighbor and find a hammer," Samantha said. "The car was running, the air was on, so the baby was totally fine. It was just that initial parent reaction of, ‘Please, God, let me get to my baby.’”

Members of the Pinetop Fire Department were quick to arrive at the scene to help rescue Archer from the locked vehicle.

Instead, the couple called 911, which prompted the swift arrival of a crew from the Pinetop Fire Department. They were able to use a special tool to safely unlock the car.

Archer, who was initially spooked by the loud sounds of the fire truck and the sounds of Oscar's barking, had been reunited with his parents and was excited to show off his toy bear to his new firefighter friends.

“They were very kind and they did a good job of trying to keep me calm. I was pretty much freaking out,” she said. “As soon as we were able to get the baby out, they were happy to take a photo with us and stick around to make sure he was OK.”

For the parents, it was a sweet sigh of relief to not only have their son and family dog back in their arms but to have their car still fully intact.

“Once they were able to shimmy the door down and use their tool to unlock it, there was just that immediate wash over of peace and relief,” she said. “I got emotional and cried because I was so overwhelmed by the situation.”

The family extends a special thank you to both the Pinetop Fire Department and the Navajo County Sheriff’s Department.

Contact Ashlee Larrison at (602) 639-8488 or [email protected].

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