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Indian River County Fire Rescue crews rescue mom in labor during Hurricane Irma

Posted at 8:55 PM, Sep 11, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-12 09:28:43-04

It's not your typical delivery story: Going into labor in a hurricane.

"My water broke and my contractions went from like 30 minutes apart, to 15 minutes apart, to 6 minutes apart. said Justine Johnson.

Johnson and Mike Novakowski were stranded in flooded streets as Hurricane Irma whipped through Vero Beach.

Indian River County Fire Rescue Assistant Fire Chief Brian Burkeen got the call and raced to help with their high-water vehicle.

"There were trees down, things of that nature. We placed the truck in the front yard and we walked her into the truck and we hauled butt to the hospital," he said.

Johnson made it to the hospital in time. She was in labor several hours but finally delivered a beautiful baby girl named Sophia Lynn.

"Sophia is my grandmother's name and Lynn is his (Mike's) grandmother's name.

Burkeen has never had to deliver in a hurricane. He was glad the parents made the call to 911. "They would not have made it. They would have been delivering the child at home."

The family is doing great and thankful the fire department was able to respond in the middle of a hurricane.

"To the fire department and in particular the two gentlemen who came to get us that night... they were so amazing. The second they showed up I felt like a huge relief and they were just great," the new parents said.