3-year-old Riverside girl goes Christmas shopping with firefighters who saved her from drowning

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (KABC) -- A 3-year-old Riverside girl reunited with the rescuers who saved her life after almost drowning to do some Christmas shopping.

Every year, instead of responding to an emergency call, firefighters pick a family to shop with ahead of the holidays. Riverside firefighters took Elina Guillen and her three siblings shopping, knocking off a few toys and items off their Christmas list.

"We searched around and asked around for what family we thought was deserving and this family came about and made perfect sense and worked out really well for us and them," said Captain Scott Wilson.

2-year-old Riverside girl meets heroes who saved her after almost drowning
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Elina Guillen, 2, nearly drowned in a Riverside pool on Labor Day but was saved with the help of first responders.

Three months ago, the then two-year-old was pulled unconscious from a pool at her family's apartment complex during a Labor Day party. Despite the near-drowning, the toddler made a full recovery due to the efforts of many of the first responders.

Elina's mother said this will be an especially meaningful Christmas for them following the incident.

"It really opened up our eyes and just kind of makes us more grateful for what we have and taking a step back and thinking things through and just enjoying the time with our children," Lucinda Guillen said.

Funds for the shopping spree were provided by the City of Riverside Fire Association and the Fire Management Group with Target under the umbrella of Spark of Love.
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