Baby delivered in fire house parking lot

A baby girl took her first breaths in a car parked outside a fire house parking lot Tuesday when the newborn’s parents found their local hospital was closed.

The child’s birth story began in Ellijay, about 78 miles north of Atlanta, when her mother’s water broke, according to the Ellijay Fire Department.

She and her husband drove straight to North Georgia Medical Center.

But the hospital, being replaced by an emergency department, was closed.

The woman realized she would not make it to another hospital, so the couple drove to a fire house on North Main Street.

The department called for emergency transportation services, but the ambulance was unable to respond in time, firefighter Gene Hightower said.

The couple’s child delivery was left in the hands of four police and fire workers.

“Captain Gene Hightower actually delivered the baby in the back of the car,” Ellijay police Chief Edward Lacey said.

Hightower, who has served with the department for 32 years, said the department often respond to calls from women in labor but that this is the first time a child was delivered on the premises.

He added that the delivery itself took less than 15 minutes.

“It was so fast that once we first got all the information about how far along the contractions were it was time,” Hightower said.

An ambulance arrived and took the family to Piedmont Mountainside Hospital in Jasper after the delivery.