DC Fire honors swimming pool lifeguard who saved 90-year-old swimmer

Lifeguard Joshua Harris hugs Inga Williams, whom he saved in a D.C. pool in July, during a ceremony in Northwest. (WTOP/Chris Cruise)

Inga Williams nearly lost her life at the bottom of a swimming pool three weeks ago. Fortunately, lifeguard Joshua Harris was on duty that day as he pulled the 90-year-old to safety. For his efforts, the 24-year-old was honored Tuesday in a ceremony at a D.C. fire station.

The dramatic rescue happened July 28 at a community pool at Williams’ home on Embassy Park Drive NW near Massachusetts Avenue in the Cathedral Heights neighborhood.

D.C. Fire and EMS said Williams suffered a medical emergency and sunk unconscious to the bottom of the pool. She recalled sinking and being unable to help herself.

“I started going down, and for some reason, I couldn’t get up the wall,” Williams said. “I don’t know why.”

“After I noticed that she was diving and she laid there motionless, that’s when I went in,” said Harris.

The fifth-year lifeguard from Waldorf, Maryland, is no stranger to life-saving, counting dozens of saves in recent years.

After noticing she was at least 10 feet deep, Harris said he performed a “deep-water-submerged rescue” to help Williams rise back to the surface.

Harris then pulled an unconscious Williams from the pool and administered CPR for several minutes until rescue crews arrived and took over.

The couple was brought together again for the brief ceremony at D.C. Engine Company 20 on Wisconsin Avenue in Northwest D.C. During the event, the tall, burly lifeguard reached down and gently hugged the slender older woman.

“He saved my life,” Williams said.

Dick Uliano

Whether anchoring the news inside the Glass-Enclosed Nerve Center or reporting from the scene in Maryland, Virginia or the District, Dick Uliano is always looking for the stories that really impact people's lives.

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