Mundelein firefighter honored for doing the 'near-impossible' by saving little girl's life off-duty

A Mundelein firefighter is being called a hero for helping victims of a car crash while off-duty in September. 

On Sept. 11, Dan Buhrmester was on his way home on I-94 when he witnessed a devastating crash, and provided instant medical care on the highway.

The Medial Director for NorthShore University Health System in Highland Park, Ben Feinzimer, attended the Mundelein Village Board meeting Monday to recognize Buhrmester's efforts. 

Feinzimer says Buhrmester was on his way home from dropping his children off at a birthday party when he saw the tail end of a horrific car crash during "monsoon-like" conditions. 

The off-duty firefighter was traveling in the opposite direction on the highway, but he stopped his car and hopped the median to help the victims. 


A 3-year-old girl was among those injured in the crash. She was knocked unconscious. In his street clothes and with no equipment, Buhrmester began performing CPR on the child. 

"Despite the incredibly unkind conditions, despite the fact he was rendering care in the middle of a highway, despite the fact he had no tools with him and he knew that the chance of survival was really low, he did everything he could to try and save her life," Feinzimer said. 

Feinzimer says the little girl had no real chance of survival after experiencing a blunt-force trauma, but thanks to Buhrmester, the little girl can celebrate the holidays with her family. In the condition she was in, reviving her was "uncommon and borderline near-impossible," Feinzimer added.

"His selfless act deserves high praise and Mundelein is lucky to have him to be part of their community," Feinzimer said. 

Buhrmester was awarded with an individual citation for his public service.