NEWBURG – A Newburg firefighter says he’s lucky to be alive after a fire call took a turn for the worse, but the 11-year veteran credits that call for saving his life.
July 26 was the hottest day in more than two years, with a high of 95 and a heat index of 107, but when the tone sounded for a car fire down the road in the Town of Trenton, members of the Newburg Fire Department suited up, including Bob Stanczyk.
“Everything, at that point, was still fine,” he said. “Had the car about out, trying to get the hood open. I happened to notice on my left shoulder, I started to have a little bit of discomfort on top of my shoulder.”
“He had the top of his bunker gear off,” said Lt. Tony Scholten.
Firefighter and EMT Lt. Scholten was called up to check him out, hooking him up to an EKG.
“You could just tell the way they’re staring at (the EKG)…” said Stanczyk.
“I really didn’t believe what I was reading,” said Lt. Scholten.
“And (Tony) just turned around and said, ‘(Second Newburg EMT) Danny (Powell), we got trouble,'” said Stanczyk.
Stanczyk was having a heart attack and soon went into cardiac arrest.
Firefighter Jeff Walczyk was in the driver’s seat, with EMTS Scholten and Powell in the back with Stanczyk.
“One shock, he’ll be okay,” said Lt. Scholten. “I looked back at the monitor and he was still fibrillating. I ended up shocking him a third time and I could see his rhythm started to come back on the monitor.”
Stanczyk opened his eyes.
“And then, I looked at Tony and his eyes were like the size of grapefruits, and I looked at Danny and his eyes were huge,” said Stanczyk.
What felt like being out for seconds was closer to four minutes.
“I said, ‘You were just coded in the ambulance,'” said Powell.
On Sunday, Aug. 16, the four were back in the firehouse, with Stanczyk, a husband and father of two, on the mend from a complete blockage — thankful he took the call that nearly killed him.
“Something doesn’t feel right, no matter how small it is, get it checked out,” he said. “If I wouldn’t have been on that call, I wouldn’t be sitting here.”
But ultimately, he says, that saved his life. He’s now urging everyone to take a page from his book — if something doesn’t feel right, get it checked out immediately, and consider taking CPR classes, as it could help save someone’s life.