Reviving Baby from Hot Car Leads to Lifesaving Award

Frank Orona administers CPR, leads police to fleeing mother

By:  Kris Spears
A small infant is no match for a hot car on a blistering summer day. When 40-year Oncor veteran and Senior Equipment Mechanic Frank Orona went to visit his wife at work in August 2016, he had no idea the safety techniques learned at Oncor would help save an unresponsive baby’s life.

It was mid-afternoon on August 22 when Orona and his wife were approached by a frantic man inside of a Bealls department store in DeSoto. The man, and two women behind him, yelled for someone to call 911 because a child was left in a hot car.

“I told them to break the window,” Orona said. “They wouldn’t, so I grabbed a piece of clothes rack from the store and they showed me to the car.”

When the 66-year-old made it to the vehicle, the sun was beating down on the child’s red, welted face. He tapped on the glass several times but didn’t receive a response.

With a metal rod in hand, he checked the passenger-side doors, but they wouldn’t budge. He swung at the windows, trying to break the glass without getting any on the child, but they wouldn’t crack.

“That’s when I went around to the driver door, and it opened,” Orona said.

With a quick push of the unlock button, Orona was in the back seat with the baby, shaking the car seat and saying “wake up baby boy, wake up baby boy.”

“That’s when the training I got at Oncor kicked in.”

He unbuckled the baby and held it in his arms.

“I turned him over and tapped him on the back a few times, but he didn’t respond,” Orona said. “I turned him back over and, with two fingers, pressed on his back about five times to administer CPR. Nothing. I tried again, pressing another five times.”

The baby started crying. So did Orona.

“I held him to my chest, and walked him into the store and the air conditioning.”

Surrounded by a growing crowd of people, Orona was approached by a woman claiming to be the child’s mother. She grabbed the child, ran back to the car and began to drive off.

“By that time, the police pulled up,” Orona said. “I pointed the car out to them and they blocked her in.”

The mother was arrested at the scene and the child was taken by ambulance to Children’s Medical Center of Dallas.

For his heroic action, Orona was given Oncor’s Lifesaving Award by Chief Operating Officer Jim Greer on Dec. 8.

“It’s obvious that this child had a guardian angel and Frank was there at the right time,” Greer said during the award ceremony. “It was mere seconds that no doubt made a difference between life and death. Frank represents the best in all of us and we’re very proud of him.

Orona attributes his quick action to Oncor’s training.

“I appreciate everything that the company has taught me about safety,” Orona said. “We have one of the best training courses around, and it sticks with you.”

“I’d do it all again. I don’t care whose windows they are; anything to get a baby out.”​​​​​