Idaho firefighter suffers cardiac arrest during house fire

Colleagues began lifesaving measures after Lt. Phil Diffenbaugh suffered a cardiac event while battling the heavily involved fire

By FireRescue1 Staff

ST. MARIES, Idaho — A firefighter is recovering after going into cardiac arrest while battling a house fire Monday morning. reported that St. Maries Fire Protection District firefighters began an aggressive attack after responding to a heavily involved house fire. While crews were battling the blaze, Lt. Phil Diffenbaugh, an eight-year veteran with the department, suffered a cardiac event. His colleagues began lifesaving measures and notified command, requesting an ambulance on scene.

"Crews were able to obtain a return of spontaneous circulation on scene prior to transport. However, he went into cardiac arrest again while in transport to Benewah Community Hospital," according to a fire department press release. "Emergency room staff was able to regain a pulse and he was flown to Kootenai Medical Center, where he underwent additional medical treatment."

The fire, which remains under investigation, was contained to an attached garage.

"I would like to thank everyone for your support of Lt. Diffenbaugh and his family as well as our firefighters," Fire Chief Larry Naccarato said. "A special thank you to all those involved with the incident and the care of our firefighter. As we receive more information on both the fire and Lt. Diffenbaugh's condition, we will continue to release any updates."

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