TURLOCK -- Parents getting ready for a family barbecue Saturday evening left two 3-year-olds alone a moment too long, but a timely glance out a second-story window averted tragedy.
Kristi Vargas of Turlock said she was preparing food in the kitchen in the home of her sister, Andrea Martinez. Vargas' son, Dennis, and niece Sofi Martinez, both 3, were entertaining themselves, she thought, in an upstairs playroom.
Instead, the two had made their way outside and were riding bikes in the back yard by the pool. A fence around the pool had just been removed to lay sod, Vargas said.
Vargas said brother-in-law Victor Martinez, hearing a splash, looked out an upstairs window, then yelled, "Why is Dennis in the pool by himself? Why is Dennis in the pool?"
"Then he came tearing down the stairs. We ran for the door and he got out there first, that's how fast he went," Vargas said Sunday. "He completely saved (Dennis') life."
Dennis' skin and lips were blue, she said. He was conscious but breathing with difficulty.
"We swooped him up and took him to the hospital" less than a mile away, Vargas said. She estimated her son was underwater about 10 seconds.
Dennis was home and doing well Sunday. Vargas said she and her husband, Alejo Vargas, were told to watch for signs of pneumonia from having inhaled water.
"It's a split second that it can happen. Everyone always jumps to judge, but it's literally a split second," Vargas said.
Bee reporter Nan Austin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 578-2339.