A pair of quick-thinking firefighters saved the life of a heart attack victim who collapsed in front of them – as they drove back from a shift.
Lee Rogers and Glandel Thompson were heading back to their fire station when the 75-year-old collapsed outside his house.
The pair pulled over to help – and shocked him back to life twice with a defibrillator kept on their fire engine.
Paramedics who arrived moments later said the man – who has not been named – would have died if the firefighter’s hadn’t stepped in.
Lee, 37, said: “We are often called to spring into action at a moments notice, but that is to pull someone from a burning building or from a car crash – not giving CPR to a man we just find lying at the side of the road by chance.
“I think that gentleman had someone smiling down on him that day, it really was pure chance that we were there.”
The drama began at 2.30pm last Wednesday after the pair set off from Avonmouth fire station in Bristol, where they had completed a ‘stand by’ shift.
They were heading back to Avon Fire and Rescue Service’s HQ at Temple Back in central Bristol when they drove past the man’s house on the A4 Portway.
The pair first thought the man had tripped over while mowing his lawn but only realised it was heart attack when they stopped to help.
Lee and Glandel called for an air ambulance and a motorbike paramedic soon arrived at the scene – but not before the the elderly man stopped breathing twice.
“We stuck the pads on his chest and gave him a shock and he started to breathe again, but then stopped and we had to give him another shock,” said Lee.
“After the paramedics arrived and gave all the drugs he needed to stop that happening again they said that if we had not got to him, and given him CPR when we did, it would have been too late.
“They said in no uncertain terms that we saved his life.
“As far as we heard the gentleman is looking positive, and hopefully we can go and see him soon.”
Colleague Glandel, 42, added: “We just went into auto pilot really but looking back it all seems pretty surreal.”
Barrie Slade, the first paramedic on scene for South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust, said: “He certainly would not have got to hospital alive.
“The early intervention of the fire crew was absolutely crucial in giving the patient the best possible chance of surviving this life-threatening situation – first by recognising that the patient had suffered a cardiac arrest, then by providing very effective CPR in the first crucial minutes.”