Woman names baby after medic who saved her during wildfire

In this photo taken on Dec. 14, 2018, paramedic Mickey Huber holds 2-day-old baby Zoele Mickey Skinner at Enloe Medical Center in Chico, Calif. (AP)
Updated 25 December 2018
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Woman names baby after medic who saved her during wildfire

  • On Dec. 12, more than a month after the fire began, Skinner gave birth via C-section to a full-term, healthy girl and named her after the man she believes saved her life

SAN FRANCISCO: In his 20 years as a paramedic, Mickey Huber assisted in two emergency deliveries. But to him, the most memorable birth is the one that didn’t happen on his watch.
Huber was helping people evacuate from the terrifying wildfire that tore through the Northern California town of Paradise on Nov. 8 when he heard on the scanner about a pregnant woman going into premature labor.
Anastasia Skinner’s baby wasn’t due for another month, but she began to feel contractions as she grabbed her mother’s two dogs and raced to escape the fast-moving blaze. The flames had already hit her car by the time she fought the panic-driven traffic jam out of town and reached a gas station, honking the horn and screaming for help.
“I knew I wasn’t going to make it,” Skinner, 25, said during a phone interview on Friday. “I called my husband and told him goodbye, tell all the kids I love them and make sure they remember me.”
A motorcyclist who saw Skinner in distress flagged a police officer who helped her move to the back seat of her Honda Pilot. Several women who were stuck in the traffic jam brought her blankets and pillows, A retired fire chief came to her aid and someone requested a helicopter to airlift her to the hospital.
Huber, the assistant chief of operations for Butte County Emergency Services, was two miles away but had to get through 30 minutes of gridlock to get to Skinner. When he arrived and evaluated her condition, he knew she couldn’t wait much longer for a helicopter.
“The smoke was thick, and the winds were blowing. The helicopters were having a hard time fighting the fire let alone airlifting patients,” Huber said.
Because Skinner was having a high-risk pregnancy after suffering two miscarriages and other complications related to an inherited disorder, Huber said she may not have made it if she went into full-blown labor.
He arranged a caravan that included three police vehicles to rush Skinner to an ambulance. Then he jumped in the back seat, where he kept her calm until she reached a hospital where her labor was stopped.
“He was sweet. He told me, ‘I’m a guy. I don’t know what this feels like for you, but I’ll try to help you get you through it,’ ” Skinner said. “Then he would yell at people outside of the car, waving his hat and telling them to get out of the way.”
“My goal was to keep her breathing and get her down the hill,” Huber said. “Two of my ambulance crews were trapped by the fire moments before I got to Anastasia so there was a lot of doubt, a lot of worry.”
Skinner said a doctor later told her smoke inhalation put her body under stress and triggered the contractions.
On Dec. 12, more than a month after the fire began, Skinner gave birth via C-section to a full-term, healthy girl and named her after the man she believes saved her life.
“She’s a blessing in every way including what happened at the Camp Fire,” she said about her daughter, Zoele (rhymes with Noel) Mickey Skinner.
Skinner and her husband, Daniel, have three other children, ages 8, 6 and 4.
After getting Skinner to the ambulance, Huber helped with the mass evacuation until the next day. He said he was shocked and honored when he learned the baby was named after him.
“That day was full of a thousand different emotions but that is the strongest memory of the day for me,” Huber said.
More than 50,000 people in Paradise and the neighboring communities of Magalia and Concow were forced to quickly flee the towering, wind-driven flames that burned an area about the size of Chicago — 240 square miles (622 square kilometers) — and became the deadliest US wildfire in at least a century. At least 86 people were killed and 14,000 homes destroyed.
Skinner and her husband, Daniel, lost their home; her mother lost hers too.
“All of our history and what we were as a family, everybody knowing your name and all the things about being in a small town are just gone,” Skinner said.
When her children get sad about the things they lost in the fire, she said she reminds them to count their blessings, including the baby sister who made it alive.
“All of us, including our animals are out. Everybody we know is safe,” Skinner said. “We can replace all the stuff in our house, but we can’t replace each other.”


Kim, Trump impersonators draw ire of Vietnam’s authorities

Updated 23 February 2019
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Kim, Trump impersonators draw ire of Vietnam’s authorities

  • The duo has been making rounds of Hanoi, taking pictures with curious onlookers ahead of the second summit of the two leaders next week

HANOI, Vietnam: Vietnamese authorities are not amused by the antics of two impersonators of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and President Donald Trump.
The duo has been making rounds of Hanoi, taking pictures with curious onlookers ahead of the second summit of the two leaders next week.
However, on late Friday, a Kim lookalike, the Hong Kong-based impersonator who uses the name Howard X, posted on Facebook that about 15 police or immigration officers demanded a mandatory “interview” with them following a talk they gave at the state-run VTV1 channel.
“They then said that this was a very sensitive time in the city due to the Trump/Kim summit and that our impersonation was causing a ‘disturbance’ and ... suggested that we do not do the impersonation in public for the duration of our stay as these presidents have many enemies and that it was for our own safety.”
According to Howard X, there was a back-and-forth with an unnamed Vietnamese officer who “did not seem pleased with my answer” and threatened the impersonators with deportation, saying they were breaking immigration rules. Finally, he said they were driven back to their hotel and told to stay put until authorities decide how to treat them.
“Although I am not surprised that I got detained for doing my impersonation in Vietnam, it’s still pretty annoying. What it shows is that Vietnam has a long way to go before they will be a developed country and I wonder if they ever will under these conditions,” he wrote on his Facebook page. “If the Vietnamese authorities are willing to give this kind of harassment over something as trivial as an impersonation to a high-profile foreigner, imagine what all the Vietnamese artists, musicians, film producers and all the political activists have to endure for simply wanting to release a controversial film, songs or for simply speaking up about real injustices in this country.”
Vietnam is a tightly controlled communist country that tolerates no dissent.
Howard X was also questioned by Singaporean immigration authorities when he and his colleague appeared in the city-state for the first Kim-Trump summit last June.
The impersonator’s real name is Lee Howard Ho Wun.