Firefighter–EMT honored after being punched while giving CPR

Off-duty West Allis firefighter Chad Staszak was praised by West Bend Police Chief Kenneth Meuler, who told the mayor he “should be proud” to have Staszak serving the city


By FireRescue1 Staff

WEST ALLIS, Wis. — A firefighter-EMT who was punched while giving CPR to a woman when he was off duty was recognized with a letter of praise.

Journal Sentinel reported that West Allis Fire Department firefighter-EMT Chad Staszak was at an outdoor concert in West Bend when he saw a woman collapse.

West Allis Fire Department firefighter-EMT Chad Staszak was at an outdoor concert in West Bend when he saw a woman collapse. (Photo/WAFD)
West Allis Fire Department firefighter-EMT Chad Staszak was at an outdoor concert in West Bend when he saw a woman collapse. (Photo/WAFD)

"I thought maybe she had become a little overheated," he said.

Staszak jumped into action when someone yelled “Does anybody know CPR?”

A man later identified as Robert Ryan was already performing CPR on the woman when Staszak said he was a firefighter.

"'I know more than you do,'" Ryan responded, according to Staszak.

The man stood up, and Staszak said he “assumed he was giving me the opportunity to do chest compressions.”

Staszak was then slammed in the head, and Ryan was arrested. He faces three charges and is scheduled to appear in court Sept. 26.

West Allis Fire Chief Mason Pooler said the department is “extremely proud” of the 20-year fire veteran.

“I've known him for 20 years and I'm not surprised he stepped up in a time of need, even though he faced obstacles,” Pooler said.

West Bend Police Chief Kenneth Meuler praised Staszak for his professional manner in a letter to West Allis Mayor Dan Devine.

"You should be proud to have such an outstanding individual working for your city," he wrote.

Devine said the praise was “well-deserved.”

"I've known Chad for quite a few years and he's a great guy and a great firefighter," Devine said. "I'm glad he's getting the proper recognition."

"I wanted to keep my composure and professionalism because I did not want to add to the stress that was already there,” Staszak said about how he kept cool during the incident.

"If that had been a family member of mine, I would want somebody to step in,” he added.

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