By Tricia L. Nadolny, The Philadelphia Inquirer
Jan. 23 — As crews from the Phoenixville Fire Department battled a chimney fire spreading inside a home early Thursday, another crisis unfolded in their midst.
A team member collapsed.
And he wasn’t breathing.
“The other firefighters that were with him immediately stopped and attended to him, realized the severity of what was going on and were able to drag him to another room that was away from the fire,” said deputy chief David Meadows, who now knows that his teammate was going into cardiac arrest.
Once the man’s helmet and breathing apparatus had been removed, the firefighters realized he didn’t have a pulse. At that moment, Meadows said he went into overdrive, sending half the crew back to fight the fire.
First Report from PhillyFireNews.com: Phoenixville Firefighter Goes into Cardiac Arrest at Fire
Others grabbed a defibrillator from the truck while one man began administering CPR to the unconscious firefighter, an eight-year veteran of the department whose name has not been released.
After a few moments, the man’s pulse returned. An ambulance took him to Phoenixville Hospital, where he was in stable condition in the intensive care unit and is anticipated to recover, Meadows said.
The fire, which Meadows said was a secondary concern to the safety of his team members, was contained in about 10 minutes.
“It comes down to the safety of life first, whether it be civilians we’re going to rescue and remove from harm’s way or one of our own guys,” Meadows said. “Making sure he was OK was the No. 1 priority.”
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