Burke County firefighter saved by crew after he collapsed while fighting fire

BURKE COUNTY, N.C. — A volunteer firefighter from Burke County is recovering at home after his heart stopped while fighting a fire.

His fellow firefighters at the scene saw his collapse and worked to save his life. Channel 9′s Dave Faherty spoke with them about the equipment they used and their recent training.

The firefighters led a procession Monday for volunteer firefighter David Hart, who just got out of the hospital.

The Chesterfield Fire chief said Hart was one of the first firefighters to respond to the call of a camper and truck on fire right next to a home. It happened late Friday afternoon off of Bristol Creek Avenue north of Morganton.

On Monday morning, Faherty could see all the damage behind the home, where flames destroyed the camper and then spread to a truck. It even melted the siding on the home.

Hart arrived in a pumper rescue truck and was working to get water to the fire when he collapsed near the fire apparatus. Neighbors could see firefighters scrambling to help.

“It scared us,” said neighbor Sandi Stiles. “We didn’t really know what was going on. And we started praying.”

Neighbors said the firefighters began working together -- some on the fire, while others tried to save their colleague, whose heart had stopped.

“As soon as my captain cut his shirt, I started chest compressions while my assistant chief did ventilation,” said Amanda Buff with Chesterfield Fire.

The fire trucks at Chesterfield Fire are equipped with portable defibrillators. That, along with their CPR training done earlier this year, is being credited with saving David Hart’s life.

“CPR keeps the heart pumping blood when it stops. Defibrillators restart them,” said Chesterfield Fire Capt. T.J. Robinson.

Hart spent three days in the hospital.

“Stay with us. That’s pretty much what was going through my mind as well as everyone else’s,” said Asst. Chief Jeremy Cooke. “We were doing the best we could to get him back.”

The firefighters are encouraging people to consider CPR training, saying it could save a loved one.

(WATCH BELOW: Crews respond to fire at freightliner plant in Rowan County)