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Torrance, Calif., Paramedics/Firefighters Deliver Baby Boy in Bookstore

TORRANCE, Calif. (AP/UPI) — A woman walked into a Los Angeles-area Barnes & Noble looking for books and came out with a baby instead.

Firefighters delivered the newborn Friday evening in the bookstore's lobby at Del Amo Fashion Center, Torrance Fire Department Capt. Steve Deuel said.

"This story begins with a call we got a little after 7:30 p.m. of a woman in labor in the bookstore," said Capt. Steve Deuel of the Torrance Fire Department. "It was a little bit chaotic when we arrived because a lot of the customers didn't know what was happening. But mom knew because it was not her first child.

"Upon examination, paramedics decided the delivery was imminent," he said. "Our firefighters and paramedics are trained to do emergency deliveries in the field so everything went as planned -- with the exception of her not being in the hospital."

"The baby made that decision for them," Deuel said. "They went ahead and delivered a healthy baby boy."

Store manager Marchelle Hughes said the woman gave birth just five or 10 minutes after walking through the door around 7:30 p.m.

About 20 people gathered to watch, and employees asked some not to take pictures or video. Paramedics put up a cloth to help with privacy.

"That is a really awkward event to do in public," Hughes said. "At the same time it's a really tender moment, and I think everybody wanted to share that."

After cleaning up, staff finished their shift with "a positive vibe in the store," she said.

The mother and child, whose names were not released, were taken to a hospital and both were doing well, Deuel said.

It's increasingly rare that mothers don't make it to the hospital, with firefighters stepping into assist. But firefighters are trained to help with births if they must.

"Occasionally, nature writes the script — not us," Deuel said. "This was a good Friday night for all of us."

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