Local firefighter saves two lives, on two separate calls, in one day

GREENSBURG, Pa. — He’s a truck driver by trade, but when he’s off the road, he’s responding to calls for the Greensburg Fire Department as deputy assistant fire chief.

Jeff Swartz has handled his fair share of calls, but last week, he helped save the lives of two people within just six hours.

“In my 26 years in the fire department side of things, it’s unfortunate to have two cardiac arrests (in) six hours back-to-back and good outcomes,” Swartz said.

“Everybody thinks about saving a life and saving a life at a fire, and it’s not every day to do it; it’s far and few between,” Fire Chief Tom Bell said.

The first call was for a woman who had a seizure inside the Shop ‘N Save on Main Street on Greensburg. When first responders got there, she was barely breathing and didn’t have a pulse. Swartz was one of the first ones on the scene.

“She was pulseless and CPR was started until the AED was administered on her, and defibrillated her three times and it was a good outcome,” Swartz explained.

Within six hours, there was another lifesaving call. A hockey coach was found unresponsive on the sidewalk outside of the ice rink at Lynch Field. Swartz was right there, again, to bring him back to life.

“He was walking to his vehicle, and dropped over and went unresponsive,” Swartz said.

“To have something happen in the same day, six hours apart and save the lives of two different people in two totally different places is kind of rare, very rare. I’ve never seen it yet,” Bell said.

The outcome may not always be this good, but as a volunteer firefighter in a busy city department, it’s one that makes it worth it.

“This is what I’m here for — this is why we’re doing this, it drives you to continue to do it. [It] gives you that retention to keep you coming back. We know we can’t win ‘em all, like Bo Nichols said, that’s what we do,” Swartz said.

First responders said both of those patients have survived.

WATCH the video in above for the words that the victims had to say to the firefighter.