Mike Hofler started his shift on Aug. 9 as a Belchertown on-call firefighter just like any other day.
"Absolutely fine, no symptoms, no idea that this was going to happen, just a calm day at home," Hofler said.
It was an elementary school fire alarm going off that brought him into work that day and he expected it to be a routine call.
"School was not in session, middle of the day traffic would be light, it'll be an easy run to make," he said.
That was the last thought Hofler remembers before his co-workers would be fighting to keep him alive.
"He got into the truck and looked at me and said 'I don't think I can drive', and by the end of 'drive' he had fallen from the truck and landed face first on the floor," said firefighter Robert Vanzandt.
Hofler's passenger just happened to be Vanzandt, a firefighter who had just completed his paramedic training.
When he and two other firefighters rushed to Hofler's side, the situation was looking dire - Hofler had no pulse.
"We started CPR immediately," Vanzandt said.
Vanzandt and his fellow firefighters recognized the heart attack and used CPR and a monitor to get his pulse back. For Vanzandt time seemed to stand still.
"Everything just froze up, I got out of the truck and ran around and everything just seemed very slow," he said.
Vanzandt and the others loaded Hofler into a waiting ambulance and rushed him to Baystate Medical Center.
He said it was the compressions being started so quickly that saved his co-worker's life.
They are actions Hofler will never forget.
"It could not have happened with better people around me, better location, better timing, better anything, all of the angels were lined up on my shoulder," Hofler said.
One other person is equally as grateful, Hofler's other half.
"My wife thanks them for my life, she really does," he said.
Hofler's recent tests showed good results, he did suffer some injuries to his face in the fall.
But he said the hardest part is knowing he probably won't be able to return to the department full time but expects to continue on in some capacity.
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