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Pennsylvania Department Delivers Its First Baby

LEBANON TWP. - A new township resident came into the world in the back of a speeding ambulance with help from local firefighters Monday afternoon.

It wasn't the first time township fire Chief Warren Gabriel helped deliver a baby in a moving vehicle, but it was a first for the fire department, which took over EMS duties for the township last month.

The baby boy was born 4:12 p.m., just minutes before arriving at Hackettstown Regional Medical Center, Gabriel said.

Both mom and her newborn son were healthy, he added.

"It went pretty quick," said Gabriel, an emergency medical technician. &After she started having the baby, it came after a minute or two."

Gabriel has helped deliver babies twice before, when he was a member of the township rescue squad.

Victoria Apadula, who was home alone, called for an ambulance about 3:30 p.m.

The fire department picked up the Lebanon Township woman and headed toward Hackettstown. The chief drove while firefighter and EMT Nancy Mayberry worked in the back with two Hunterdon Medical Center paramedics.

Along the way, Apadula's husband, who had been at work, pulled up in a car next to the ambulance. They stopped to let him in, and he was with his wife when their second child arrived.

Gabriel, who also wears the hat of Lebanon Township public works director, said the fire department has been responding to about 60 ambulance calls a month since taking on EMS duties in April. The department also typically receives 15 or 16 fire calls a month. Response times have been good, according to Gabriel, and four new members have joined - two are trained firefighters and all are EMTs.

"We've been doing a heck of a job handling all these calls," Gabriel said.

The township committee rescinded the Lebanon Township First Aid Squad's EMS responsibilities last month in a 3-1 vote, with one official abstaining.

Mayor Jay Weeks and two other committee members have criticized the squad for not submitting to an external financial audit while Committeemen Brian Wunder and Frank Morrison have supported the squad, an independent nonprofit organization.

The squad is suing Weeks and the other committee members who voted to transfer EMS to the fire department, claiming firefighters intimidated squad members and stole the squad's ambulances. The case is scheduled to be heard June 11 in state Superior Court in Flemington.



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