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Event puts firefighter on other side

By MICHAEL KIMBALL, Staff Writer Published: October 3, 2009
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Not once in more than two decades as an Oklahoma City firefighter did Cpl. Phil Bargman ever think he would be the one who needed rescuing.

Bargman, 58, survived a heart attack he suffered June 10 at his station minutes after returning from fighting a house fire.

Three months earlier, fellow city firefighter Cpl. Christopher Dill had died from a heart attack in a similar situation.

The same crew that fought the house fire alongside Bargman got the call to treat him. His co-workers at the station started CPR as paramedics rushed to the scene.

Six shocks from a defibrillator were followed by six more on a medical helicopter, along with 11 more in the coming hours and days as he fought for his life in the hospital.

“But I don’t remember any of it,” Bargman said. “I don’t remember driving the rig (to the fire), being at the fire, nothing. ... “It was two or three days later in the ICU, I guess, the first thing I remember.”

Bargman said he has no history of heart disease or attacks in his family and never had a red flag come up in regular doctor visits. His annual physical had been scheduled for the morning after his attack.

Surgeons opened a blockage in an artery and Bargman returned home from the hospital after 12 days.

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