Boy honored for saving brother from drowning

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By Andrea Tritschler

A few weeks ago, Xander Larsen was celebrating a birthday with his family at Riverwalk Apartments – splashing around the pool, running around after his brother and generally being a kid.


As his mom was preparing food for Xander, 8, and his brother Maddox, 3, Xander noticed something floating in the pool.

“So I jumped in, and it was my baby brother,” Xander said. “My mom grabbed him and she did CPR and called 911 and my dad.”

The Brighton Fire Department and Northglenn Police Department honored Xander recently for his heroic actions during a ceremony at Fire Station 55, 15959 Havana St.

“At the firehouse, we talk a lot about brotherhood, we even call each other brother and the guys we work with are our family,” said Engineer Chris Elliot. “On this day, we witnessed the true meaning of brotherhood and we are all extremely proud of what Xander did that day. He saved Maddox’s life.”

Fire Chief Mark Bodane presented the grinning 8-year-old with a lifesaving award and an honor coin, which is given to firefighters who have taken extraordinary measures and performed lifesaving actions. The two boys each got a backpack filled with Brighton Fire Department items, which they couldn’t wait to show off and try out.

““His quick action and love for his brother are the very definition of bravery,” Elliot said.

Xander held up his hands to his open mouth and looked up in admiration at the other heroes that helped his brother survive. His mom too, was one of those heroes. She administered CPR on Maddox, and got him breathing before the fire department came and took him to the hospital.

“He was on all these machines that were keeping him breathing and getting the water out,” Xander said.

Maddox had jumped into the pool after taking off his life vest, said Ashley Larsen, the boys’ mom.

“He said he was done, so we were getting food,” Larsen said. “And then we hear Xander screaming.”

Maddox said he wanted to see underwater like his big brother. When Larsen got the 3-year-old out of the pool, his coloring was off, she said, holding back tears.

Maddox was discharged from the Aurora hospital’s intensive care unit after only 24 hours. He had made a complete recovery.

“We are so blessed,” Larsen said. “It was really the best outcome in the worst-case scenario.”

Xander also was named an honorary police officer by Northglenn Police Chief Jim May. Xander’s dad is an officer on the force, and many of his co-workers came to support him.

Xander also was given a chief’s coin, which traditionally is given to officers that display courage and bravery on the job.

“Your actions that day, you deserve one too,” May said.