Butler County firefighter on ventilator while battling COVID-19

MCCANDLESS, Pa. — A local firefighter is fighting for his life after contracting COVID-19.

Greg Vickinovac, 41, is on a ventilator at UPMC Passavant Hospital in McCandless after coming down with the virus.

His wife told Channel 11 he developed serious symptoms almost two weeks ago.

“He called me up and said his ears were ringing and that his heart was racing and he was dripping in sweat,” said Vickinovac. “All of a sudden he grabbed his phone and went to the kitchen and he called 911 because he was having chest pain and difficulty breathing.”

Vickinovac is a member of the Middlesex Township Volunteer Fire Company. So far, he’s received overwhelming support from the community.

“He’s very well known about the area because he’s been in the fire and EMS since he was 14 years old,” Nicole Vickinovac said.

His wife, Nicole, said a spaghetti dinner is being set up at the fire department for April 11 to help raise money while her husband battles the coronavirus.

“I currently lost my job in august because of the pandemic,” Nicole said. “He was the main person bringing the money in, and I don’t want to get behind on bills.”

She told Channel 11 doctors have been trying to wean him off the ventilator, and things were looking up until today because his heart rate went up. Now, the next few days will be critical.

Nicole said if doctors can’t get her husband breathing on his own again by Thursday or Friday, he may have a Tracheostomy put in and stay on the ventilator longer.