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15-year-old junior firefighter saves woman from choking at restaurant

FALL RIVER, Mass. (WHDH) – A newly-trained junior firefighter in Massachusetts put his skills to the test and saved a woman’s life.

The 15-year-old jumped into action when he noticed a woman choking on her food.

The rescue happened Sunday at a restaurant near Boston.

Ben Courville’s mother said he was quick to leap to action.

“Got her, swung her around, got behind her, and started doing the Heimlich,” Christine Courville said.

The two were out to dinner together when Ben Courville noticed the woman sitting at the table next to him was choking.

“I saw some stuff that wasn’t really normal and I asked if she was choking, and she nodded her head. So, that’s when I got up and I performed the Heimlich maneuver,” he said.

Ben Courville learned the Heimlich maneuver during his training.

“We have a probationary period, which is a six-month period after we join, so during those six months, you have to get CPR and first responder certified,” he said.

The woman’s family showed their appreciation by paying for the Courvilles’ meals.

“She said, ‘You saved my daughter’s life,’ and the daughter came over and hugged him,” Christine Courville said.

Ben Courville said he hopes his story inspires people to learn basic life-saving skills like the Heimlich and CPR.

“I just think … people should learn that stuff in case, even if it’s just a family member or something at the dinner table, it’s definitely helpful to know,” he said.

According to the National Safety Council, choking is the fourth leading cause of death, and two-thirds of those deaths happen to people over 75 years old.