It was a chaotic scene when Chattanooga Fire Captain Chris Blazek arrived at the car wreck on Tennessee's Highway 58. A pregnant mom had been driving and was "hysterical," complaining of pain in her back and abdomen, and her three girls were all still in the backseat. The oldest was 7 years old and the youngest was a 4-month-old baby.
Blazek made sure the kids were okay while others tended to the mom.
"Both big girls were fine, but the baby was screaming hysterically too. So I took her out of her car seat and did a quick physical exam to make sure she was okay," Blazek wrote in a post on Facebook.
Then a magical moment happened.
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"She immediately laid her head on my shoulder. Shortly after that I decided that my guys had the scene under control, so I decided to sit and take a break with my new friend. She immediately fell asleep in my arms," Blazek wrote. "It's moments like this, that I am reminded, this is why I do the job."
While the two rested, one of his fellow firefighters couldn't resist snapping a photo which has now been seen all over the world.
The mother was transported to the hospital and the children were eventually picked up by relatives, Blazek wrote. Thousands of people commented on and shared the photo of him and his new friend, thanking him for being there to comfort the girl - and the whole family - in a scary situation.
"I think everybody thinks that firefighters just run into burning buildings, but there is so much more to the job,'' Blazek told Today. "It was important just knowing that not only I was comforting the little one, but her mom knowing that she was in good hands."
He told WRCB he's grateful for the praise, but that things like this happen all the time when you're a first responder.
"My peers do this on a daily basis. This was a normal call for us. This is something we would do without thinking," Blazek told the station. "Recognition like this is amazing but we do it knowing that someday there may be no recognition."