Speed Reads

It wasn't all bad

Fireman born in the back of an ambulance celebrates his birthday delivering a baby in the back of an ambulance

Daniel Helsel has had a lot of memorable birthdays in the backs of ambulances.

His mother called an ambulance when she was in labor with him 42 years ago, Helsel told The Washington Post on Monday, but they weren't fast enough and he was born in the back of the vehicle, delivered by a medic working his first shift. Helsel has worked for the Prince George's County Fire Department for 17 years, but Monday was the first time he ever worked on his birthday, and he says it was "fate" that brought him to the apartment of a woman in labor who called for assistance getting to the hospital.

Helsel and his partner got the call at 12:17 a.m., raced to the woman's place, and got her in the ambulance, but her healthy baby girl had other plans; instead of being born at Prince George's Hospital Center, she made her debut in the ambulance. Mark Brady, spokesman for the fire department, said at least 24 babies are born in county ambulances every year, but Helsel's déjà vu birthday delivery was "a remarkable and amazing coincidence."