A fire crew from Wem have received an award from the Chief Fire Officer for saving an elderly man’s life on a 999 call.
They also received a big thank you from the man whose life they saved and his grateful wife who visited Wem Fire Station during last night's drill night.
John Luce (76) had collapsed in his back garden and his heart had stopped beating when firefighters raced to use a defibrillator to bring him back to life with seconds to spare.
For Watch Manager Phil Smith (59) it was a “surreal” moment as he too had his life saved after suffering eight cardiac arrests a number of years ago.
The crew had been called to the Luce home in Wemsbrook, Wem, at just after 6pm on an April evening earlier this year to deal with a garden fire. When they arrived, Mr Luce and neighbours had almost put out the blaze which had spread along a wooden fence and a lean to shed. It had melted a drainpipe and cracked a window of the house.
Firefighters were just getting out a hose reel and thermal imaging camera to “damp down” any remaining sparks when Mr Luce collapsed.
“He was flat on the floor and going purple. I shouted for one of the crew to ring an ambulance and another to run and fetch the defibrillator from the fire truck,” said Phil.
The life saving machine alerted firefighters to “shock” the patient as his heart had stopped.
“Within seconds he was back with us. Within five minutes he sat up talking to us. I couldn’t believe it,” added Phil, who suffered a similar life threatening emergency when he had a series of heart attacks eight years ago.
Because of their actions, the crew received an award from the Chief Fire Officer for saving a life.
“The Wem crew are to be commended for the outstanding professionalism they displayed throughout the challenging incident,” said the Chief Fire Officer.
Mr Luce, a retired funeral director, has fully recovered after undergoing heart bypass surgery. He and his wife visited the fire crew at Wem Fire Station this week to thank them for saving John’s life.
“They definitely saved his life. We want to say how grateful we both are for what they did,” said wife Margaret.