Travis Zwenger heard the sirens a little after 5 p.m. on Monday.
Earlier, he had heard kids playing outside.
Zwenger lives in the 300 block of South Belmont – the kind of shade-tree, covered-porch, tire-swing, Americana block that Norman Rockwell might have painted. On this block, the sidewalks are covered with children’s chalk drawings. On the same block Tuesday morning, all you could hear were birds singing.
When Zwenger went out Monday evening to see why the sirens were on his street, he saw something heartbreaking.
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His next-door neighbor was carrying his 2-year-old daughter in his arms to an ambulance. She was limp.
There was some good news Tuesday, however.
Police said the condition of the girl – who was rushed to a hospital in critical condition – was improving. In a statement late Tuesday afternoon, the Police Department said: “The child is still considered in critical condition, however there are signs of improvement.”
A police report about the injury said an officer reported a 2-year-old girl “becoming overheated and losing consciousness after being locked in a vehicle.”
On Monday, police said the girl’s father found her in the family’s car. The girl and her siblings had apparently been playing hide and seek, police said.
Officer Paul Cruz, a police spokesman, said Tuesday afternoon that he couldn’t say how the girl became locked in the vehicle, “but what I can tell you is three children went inside the vehicle, and only two came out.” Later, Cruz emailed a statement saying that “other children in the home had been in the vehicle at some point.”
According to information given to police, the girl was found in a “closed vehicle” and had been there “for an undetermined amount of time.” Once the family found her, they called 911.
Police are still investigating and trying to determine how it happened, Cruz said. The District Attorney’s Office will review the investigation when it is completed.
Zwenger knows the 2-year-old and her family. She is “the cutest little girl,” he said. “She is a little sweetheart, and just like her older sister and her mom. They’re all great.
“This is a tragedy. It’s an accident,” he said.
“They love their kids tremendously,” he said of the parents.
Zwenger has three children, twins who are 9 and an 11-year-old. And such an accident could have happened “very easily” to them when they were younger, he said.
“My heart goes out to them,” he said of his neighbors.
The Zwengers and their neighbors are part of the Blessed Sacrament parish community.
That community is praying for the 2-year-old and her family, he said.
“We’ve come together to support them.”