Retired sheriff's officer smashes window to save infant left in hot car

Two strangers are being hailed as heroes after they spotted a squalling 4-month old girl in a hot car on Monday and smashed a window to save her life, according to multiple reports.

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Sarah Mazzone, 30, exclaimed when she first spotted the child, drawing the attention of retired Middlesex County Sheriff's Office Sgt. Steve Eckel, Howell Patch reported. Mazzone ran into Kohl's to call for help, while Eckel frantically searched for a way to get the child out of the locked car.

He then remembered that he had accidentally left a sledgehammer in his car after completing a project.

"I tried breaking the window. I hit the corner, and it just shattered," Eckel told By the time he got through, the infant "was red like a tomato, her extremities were just bright red."

The girl was soaking wet in a T-shirt and onesie, according to Howell Patch. She also had on a wool blanket. Citing footage from surveillance cameras, police estimated she was in the car for about 40 minutes, News 12 New Jersey reported.

At the time, it was in the low-90s in the area, according to the National Weather Service.

Eckel brought the baby into Kohl's, where air conditioning and a bottle of water helped bring down her temperature. By the time police arrived, she was well on her way to recovery.

Authorities arrested the girl's mother, 33-year-old Karen Gruen, on one count of endangering the welfare of a child. The baby was released into her father's custody.

Howell police Chief Andrew Kudrick recogized Mazzone and Eckel for their “immediate action” to save the child.

“They truly saved a life,” he said.