Firefighters save engine driver's life after collapsing at wheel

They noticed something was wrong when the rig rolled through a light; they performed CPR and used an AED to save the driver's life

SAGINAW, Mich. — A firefighter has two colleagues to thank for saving his life last week.

While returning to the station after fighting a suspected arson, two firefighters noticed something wrong. Their fire truck, stopped at a red light, began to roll forward before the light had changed.

Lt. Christopher McGowan, 37, and firefighter Brandon Hausbeck, 24, with the Saginaw Fire Department, realized their driver was unconscious. They immediately stopped the truck and helped save their fellow firefighter, who was suffering a cardiac arrest, reported.

McGowan pulled the emergency brake and got the driver out and onto the ground, checking for a pulse and removed the driver's shirt. The firefighters, both trained EMTs, performed CPR and shocked the driver with an AED, which allowed the driver to regain consciousness, Hausbeck said.

A police officer arrived and drove the firefighter to a hospital; the firefighter went home from the hospital yesterday.

AED's were added to the department's fire trucks two years ago in case of an emergency situation.

"Before, when we didn't have them, if that situation happened, I believe it would have been a much different outcome," Hausbeck said. "The AED saved his life. We're lucky we had it right there. You never think you're going to need to use these things, but when you do, they're indispensable."

Fire Chief Christopher Van Loo called the incident a great story that shows the importance of training and equipment. 

"It's a successful outcome based on their actions and ability to do that," Van Loo said, giving credit to the firefighters. "It's great."

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