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Samaritan rescues baby from washing machine

April 22, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
A 20-month-old baby was caught inside an industrial washing machine at an Ontario laundromat Wednesday.

Victor Gonzalez was just minding his own business, working outside when he heard screams for help. He ran into a laundromat and found a baby trapped in a washing machine.

The child was recovering at Loma Linda University Medical Center in stable condition Friday.

A 20-month-old baby was caught inside a commercial washing machine at an Ontario laundromat.

According to witnesses, the toddler's aunt had placed the child in the machine and was playing with him while his mother and grandmother were doing laundry nearby.

"When she locked it, the machine is on. The water is coming, the baby washing in the water," said Balwinder Singh, who was nearby when the incident occurred.

The machine came on, but when the child's aunt tried to open the door, she wasn't able to. The washer was locked down with no way to stop it.

Singh was next door minding her convenience store when she heard screams for help.

"The baby is spinning like more than four minutes. It was too scary," said Singh.

Just as the drama was unfolding, Victor Gonzalez was outside working to install a new traffic signal. He and another co-worker heard the commotion and ran inside the laundromat to see what was happening.

Gonzalez spoke exclusively to Eyewitness News.

"At first I couldn't see him because he was all wet with the clothes and everything but then again I saw half of his body in there," said Gonzalez, an L.A. resident. "It was something else."

Gonzalez, a father of two, says he sprung into action. A baseball bat had already shattered the machine's glass window, but no one could get the boy out as the washer continued its cycle.

"I just came outside, grabbed the digging bar and just stared pounding on the washer and pried the door open," said Gonzalez.

The child was bloody and bruised, but after a minute he began to cry.

Gonzalez says he was relieved to hear it.

"I just did what I had to do to help the mom, she looked very desperate," said Gonzalez.

The Ontario Police Department is investigating the incident. Child-endangerment charges could still be filed.