Bystanders rescued two drowning children from Lake Waxahachie on Saturday afternoon.

A 3-year-old girl and 5-year-old girl were pulled from the water and given CPR by bystanders, said Wess Winn, public information officer for the Waxahachie Police Department. Firefighters, EMS and police officers responded to the emergency call about two possible drowning victims at Lake Waxahachie at about 2:15 p.m., Winn said.

Police officers responding to the scene believe the incident was an accident, he said.

“If it hadn't been for those bystanders, it would have been a different story,” said Don Alexander, battalion chief with the Waxahachie Fire Department. “There were a couple of heroes out there.”

The 5-year-old girl was given some sort of CPR, Winn said. The 3-year-old could not be seen from the surface of the water, he said.

“Before firefighters or EMS got there, they had found the 3-year-old,” he said. “But the 3-year-old was underwater much longer than the 5-year-old.”

An emergency room nurse who was at the beach was performing CPR on the 3-year-old when firefighters and EMS arrived, Winn said.

Both children had been pulled from the water by the time first responders arrived on scene, Alexander said. The firefighters took over CPR on the 3-year-old, he said.

“Both were breathing and had a pulse prior to leaving the scene in the ambulance,” Alexander said.

Both children were taken to Baylor Scott & White Medical Center at Waxahachie for evaluation, he said. The 3-year-old was in critical condition when she left the scene.

At least one parent of the children was on scene, he said.

The younger child may have been underwater for up to three minutes, Alexander said. Depending on the child's health conditions, that is long enough to possibly cause injury due to lack of oxygen, he said.

Lake Waxahachie is one of the few lakes open for the July 4 weekend, Winn said. The Waxahachie Police Department is asking parents to keep a close eye on their children to prevent any more close calls, he said.

The department will also be stepping up patrols of the beaches also enforcing the ban of alcohol or fireworks at the lake, he said.