12-year-old revives her baby brother found in septic tank, East Pierce firefighters say

A 12-year-old girl was able to revive her 2-year-old brother after he was found unresponsive in the family’s septic tank late Wednesday morning in Edgewood, according to East Pierce Fire & Rescue.

Their mother was able to get the boy out of the septic tank but got stuck in the process, so the girl called 911, East Pierce Fire Chief Bud Backer said. It is unclear how long the boy was in the tank or how he got in there.

Firefighters were dispatched about 11:10 a.m. to the home in the 1900 block of Meridian Avenue East, and dispatchers instructed the girl on how to give CPR to her brother. The boy was conscious by the time medics arrived, Backer said.

“The fact that his 12-year-old sister was so dialed in, they were saying, ‘Chief, you need to keep track of her. 10 years from now, you need to give her a job,’” Backer said. “She was very in control and followed directions to a ‘T,’ and saved her brother’s life in the process.”

Medics quickly drove the boy to Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital in Tacoma for treatment, Backer said, because young children’s conditions can change quickly and because it was unknown whether the boy ingested or breathed in any waste while in the tank.

“The guys didn’t waste any time,” Backer said.

Backer said East Pierce Fire & Rescue undertakes one or two septic tank rescues per year. He advised residents make sure access points to their tanks are secure to prevent similar incidents.