Farmersville boys who saved child from canal honored

FRESNO, Calif.

The two and a half year old girl fell into a canal last month and floated about a mile downstream before the boys spotted her and pulled her to safety.

Little Alice Falk's mother calls what happened a nightmare and a blessing. The little girl was pulled from that canal pale and lifeless, but she's alive today thanks to the boys' quick actions.

The accolades kept coming during a Farmersville City Council meeting as four boys were recognized for their bravery. Just over a month ago, all four sprang into action when they saw two-year-old Alice Falk floating in a canal.

"When you run across a situation like that, fear normally comes right into your thoughts. But you overcame that fear and you went out there and you did something," Tulare County Supervisor Allen Ishida said.

The little girl wandered away from her family's Farmersville apartment on July 10. Alice's mother says it happened in a matter of minutes.

"As any parent knows, that's the worse thing you can have happen to you. The worst fear you could feel. And if it wasn't for the boys, she wouldn't be here," mother Jessica Avilas said.

As family members frantically searched for her, Gilbert Hogan, Jorge Castillo, and brothers Victor and Robert Vasquez were a few blocks away. They had just finished cooling off in the canal when Robert Vasquez, Jr. noticed something in the water.

"[It was like] a little doll floating," Robert Vasquez, Jr. said.

"He started screaming about the doll. That's when we came back. And I'm like, 'that's not a doll. It's a little girl!' And that's when we all went to get her," Victor Vasquez, Jr. said.

After pulling the little girl out of the water and running for help, Victor Vasquez, Sr. began CPR. On Monday all five of them received plaques and proclamations from local, county, and state leaders. The boys also received bicycles.

"I wasn't expecting none of it. I thought I was going to get a plaque and that was it," Gilbert Hogan of Farmersville said.

Amazingly, Little Alice was only hospitalized one night for observation. The boys credited with saving her life are still trying to make sense of all the attention.

Little Alice Falk was completely unfazed by the accident, but her mother says her fear never leaves, especially because they still live by that unfenced canal. She says their lives have completely changed since the incident and says she knows its a miracle her daughter survived.

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