Jacksonville firefighters rescue man running in Gate River Run

Off-duty firefighters running in Saturday's race help save man's life

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Among the more than 17,000 runners that ran in Saturday's Gate River Run were two Jacksonville firefighters who helped save a man who collapsed on the course.

Jacksonville Fire-Resuce engineers and brothers Chris and Rob Stover say they were running down Hendrick's Avenue near Marco Place when they heard screaming.

The two raced ahead and said they saw a man lying on the ground without a pulse.

"We were able to do a couple rounds of CPR with the help of other firemen and nurses," said Chris.

Along with the Stovers, firefighter Jamie Stone, Engineer Billy Green and his wife, who is a veterinarian, helped out along with many others.

"It was a team effort," said Rob. "There were 10 to 15 people there and then every three seconds, someone stopping and saying, 'Hey I'm a doctor,' 'I'm a paramedic,' 'Do you need any more help or anything like that?'"

"Good to see a bunch of strangers who don't know each other come together and help one person in a time of need, something any other thousand firefighters would have done," said Chris. "I was just happy to be in the right spot at the right time."

Within seconds, JFRD's bike crew and Engine 13 also showed up to the scene.

"Come up with their defibrillator, put pads on him, shockable rhythm, pulse back, minute or two later, he's sitting there talking to us," said Rob.

The man -- one of a handful of runners who have completed every River Run since 1978 -- said he wanted to get up and finish the race.

"He was worried about his time," said Rob. "He kept pointing to his watch, wanting to stop his time on his watch and we're telling him to relax, the fire truck will be here in a minute."

Paramedics took the man to the hospital.  While his name and condition were not released Saturday afternoon, he was expected to make a complete recovery. 

"That's why I became a fireman, was to help people," said Chris. "To be able to help people even off-duty is very honorable."

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