What began as a routine medical aid call for a woman having contractions Tuesday soon turned the Gloucester Fire Department's Rescue One vehicle into an impromptu delivery room.
At 4:42 p.m., Fire Department paramedics arrived at 144 Cherry St. And Phil Bouchie, who was captain on duty at the time, said seemed normal when they arrived.
Firefighters helped Amanda Knowles into the ambulance and started off for Beverly Hospital via Route 128. But on the way, Amanda Knowles started giving birth — to twins.
"This was a routine run," said Bouchie, who also serves as the firefighters' union president. "Then at Exit 13, the first baby started to crown and they pulled over,"
But the time ambulance hit Exit 13, Knowles' son started his own push for arrival. Paramedics Linda Hayes and Jeff Poole pulled the ambulance off into the breakdown lane and delivered him. Then Bouchie and Tom Savage arrived as backup from the West Gloucester fire station.
Bouchie said he hopped in the driver's seat and Savage helped deliver Knowles' daughter on the way to Beverly Hospital.
The episode means that Savage has now helped in the on-the-job delivery of three babies in just over a year. He was also part of the crew that delivered Natalie Berthiaume's daughter Maggie when she went into labor at her home in West Gloucester in January last year.
Bouchie said the Fire Department didn't find out the names of Knowles' children. But the newly expanded family, he said, is safe at Beverly Hospital and doing well.
Department paramedics, Bouchie said, seem to be delivering more children than in years past.
"It's been happening more and more," he said, adding that having an open West Gloucester fire station Tuesday made a big difference.
Steven Fletcher may be contacted at 1-978-283-7000 x3455, or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @stevengdt.