Good Samaritan helps woman after accidentally locking kids in hot car in Ahwatukee

Posted at 11:04 PM, Jun 24, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-25 09:01:47-04

 A Valley mom is thankful for some fast-acting strangers who came to help her after her two kids were accidentally locked inside a hot car.

It happened on Thursday near Chandler Boulevard and 40th Street.

Carrie Gegen said she had just finished shopping and was strapping her kids into their car seats when the incident happened.

"I shut my door, went around and it was locked,” Carrie Gegen said.

Gegen said her purse, keys, phone and her kids were locked inside the sweltering car.

Gegen tried to coach her 3-year-old daughter to unlock the door, but the toddler was unable to figure it out.

"We are trying to get her to come up to the front, and pointing down at the handle to open the door, and maybe push the button to unlock the door,” Gegen added.

The outside temperature at the time was 114 degrees.

Gegen said a complete stranger heard the commotion and offered to help. He called 911 and got help on the way.

"Within five or 10 minutes, this could've been a whole different story,” said Captain Joe Meier with the Phoenix Fire Department.

“Based on the temperatures, and age of the children this could've been a very bad situation," Captain Meier said.

Children and pets are at high risk for heat illness and the temperature inside the vehicle was likely 150 degrees.

Firefighters were on scene within two minutes of being dispatched.

They broke the passenger window with an axe. The kids, ages 1 and 3, were hot, but uninjured.

Carrie said two employees at Dollar Tree, Stephanie and Caitlyn offered water, comfort and their kindness during and after the ordeal.

Carrie said she also wants to thank the mystery guardian angel who dialed 911 and summoned help.