Stefan Taylor, of Dewsbury Fire Station’s Blue Watch, was with his family in Turkey on May 21 when he spotted the three-year-old boy motionless at the bottom of the resort swimming pool.
Mr Taylor said: “I was walking round the pool with a pram and somebody spotted something in the water, in the deep end, but did not know what it was.
“The child had sunk down to the bottom of the pool but you could not make it out except for his blue shorts.
“A man picked him up and passed him over to me because I was by the edge of the pool.
“His eyes were open but he was unresponsive.
“I did not know how long he was under the pool for; my main reaction was to get some breaths into him because he was blue, so I did my five rescue breaths first.”
By coincidence, two other men who came to help were also British firefighters on holiday.
Mr Taylor said water came out of the boy’s mouth but he was still unresponsive, so he asked another man to deliver the breaths while he gave the boy chest compressions.
He said: “I did another minute-and-a-half and I thought to myself that I don’t think that he is coming back from this.”
One of the men went to find a defibrillator and another man began to help Mr Taylor with the first-aid.
He said: “Thirty seconds later I felt a judder. I did not know what it was. The next minute he coughed and started crying. The relief of him coming back, I have never experienced that in my career. It’s a totally different experience from being at work. At least at work you know you have got people there to help you.
“When he came back it was an unbelievable feeling. I have got a two-and-a-half year old and she is about the same size as him and I think that just made me more determined.”
Paramedics arrived at the scene and the boy was taken to hospital. He has since made a full recovery from his ordeal and was able to enjoy the rest of his holiday with his family.
It was only later when the men who had helped the boy started chatting, that they realised they had similar backgrounds.
Mr Taylor said: “I could not believe it that we were all firefighters, but when I thought about it we were all working in a team like we would normally at work.”
Chief Fire Officer for West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service John Roberts said the trio were a credit to their profession.
He said: “This is a truly incredible story and we are very thankful that it ended happily. It is fantastic testament to their training that despite coming from different brigades these three firefighters have sprung into action and worked seamlessly together to save a life on foreign soil.
“We always say in the Fire Service that with the skills you acquire you are never truly off-duty and I think this rescue proves that to be true."