Garrett Fire Chief delivers surprise to local mother

Chief Chad Werkheiser holds baby Nathaniel at the Garrett Fire Department. He delivered the little boy in a gas station parking lot on Feb. 19, 2017.

GARRETT, Ind. (WANE) – The Garrett Fire Chief has an unbreakable bond with a local baby. He responded to a call of a woman in labor, and ended up delivering the baby boy.
The baby’s mom didn’t even know she was pregnant.

“I’m like ‘I’m having a baby,'” Shelby Finley said about her reaction the moment she felt the urge to push.

The story begins February 19 when Finley asked her brother to take her to the hospital because she had severe stomach pain. They didn’t make it that far. Her brother pulled over at the Shell gas station on Randolph Street.

Paramedics were called, and Garrett Fire Chief Chad Werkheiser responded to the woman in labor call. Little did he know how far along the labor was.

“The umbilical cord was wrapped twice around his neck so I got that unwrapped,” Werkheiser said. “Shelby did the rest of the work. One more push and out it came.”

A 20 year veteran of the fire department Werkheiser has never been part of a field birth much less ever delivered a baby. He says they train for everything.

Finley, who said she didn’t have any pregnancy symptoms, was on birth control and even took a test that showed a negative result, was in shock when it all happened.

“All the firefighters were standing around with big smiles,” Finley said. “They were so happy. It was a calming atmosphere so I think that’s what kept me calm.”

In all about a dozen firefighters, police and EMTs responded the scene. Werkheiser was the first to arrive at 8:02 pm. Nathaniel’s time of birth is listed as 8:03 p.m.

It’s a family that came as a surprise, but Finley says it’s perfect. Her family may have gained more than one person that day.

“I think he’ll be my buddy forever,” Werkheiser said.

“He might even be a firefighter,” Finley said. “I hope so.”

Finley chose the name Nathaniel because it means ‘gift from God.’ Finley also shares a birthday with her new baby boy.