It was Friday afternoon at the Hampton Inn on Lee Burbank Highway, a lazy summer Friday.
An alarm had gone off at the hotel in error, and firefighters had responded around 4:30 p.m. and quickly determined it was nothing of concern.
As they were leaving though, Capt. Glen Rich and Firefighter Tony DiGiovanni noticed a woman in distress in the lobby.
She was having chest pains, but told firefighters to leave her alone and she’d be fine.
Seconds later she collapsed and went into full cardiac arrest.
The two firefighters immediately hit the floor, performing CPR as the woman slipped closer and closer to death.
The rest of the Engine 4 crew, under the direction of Deputy Chief Jim Cullen, quickly retrieved a defibrillator unit from the engine and brought it to aid Rich and DiGiovanni.
Time was running out as they hooked the woman up to the unit.
The automated unit immediately flashed a command to shock the woman ASAP.
They charged the defibrillator unit. They applied a massive shock to the woman.
She immediately sat up and gasped for air, clinging back to a life she nearly lost.
The firefighters also gasped, breathing a sigh of relief as it hit them that they had just saved the woman’s life.
Cataldo Ambulance transported the woman to the Mass General in Boston, where she received further treatment.
“This woman was extremely fortunate that things played out the way they did,” said Chief Gene Doherty. “It was only coincidence that we were there for the alarm when she went into cardiac arrest. It was a real good save and extremely lucky that we were there at that exact moment.”
The chief commended the entire Engine 4 and Ladder 1 crews for an extremely well-executed job.