Fire EMS, Firefighter Training, Firefighting

North Carolina Firefighter Survives On Duty Heart Attack

Winston-Salem (NC) firefighter Tony Spagnoletti suffered a major heart attack while on duty, reports the Winston-Salem Journal.

He returned Thursday, dressed in his Honor Guard uniform, to say thank you to his fellow fire-crew members and to EMS paramedics for helping save his life.

Spagnoletti was wrapping up an overnight shift at the station. He had felt some chest pain when he woke up, but didn’t really think it was a heart attack. Just in case, though, he had taken some baby aspirin, which keeps platelets from sticking together in a blood vessel.

‘I was in denial to some extent,’ said Spagnoletti, who like other Winston-Salem firefighters, has training as an emergency medical technician.

The pain was becoming severe, though, and Spagnoletti decided to call his boss, who was still in the fire department’s sleeping quarters on the second floor of the station.

‘He was white as the walls, holding on to his chest,’ Capt. Scottie Emerson recalled on Thursday.

Emerson gave Spagnoletti two squirts of nitroglycerine under his tongue, while Fire Engineer Michael Casstevens got an oxygen mask for Spagnoletti. Emerson also took the station out of service as it dealt with its own emergency.

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