Vacationing Hamilton firefighter helps save man's life at Jacksonville International Airport

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A vacationing Hamilton firefighter helped save a man’s life at Jacksonville International Airport.

Hamilton firefighter Bryan Malone, 32, was returning home from Jacksonville, Fla. on Thursday evening when he witnessed a man collapse on a moving walkway outside the airport’s terminal.

"[I] was returning my rental car and was making my way into the terminal and heard a noise, turned around, looked, noticed a guy on a moving sidewalk...He was face down," he said.

Before a Delta employee could finish screaming out for help, Malone had jumped into action, literally. He hopped over a railing, disabled the walkway and tended to the man.

Doug Stern, with the Ohio Association of Professional Fire Fighters Communications, said the man was "breathing very slowly" and collapsed a second time while attempting to get up. This time he had stopped breathing and didn't have a pulse.

Malone turned the man over and began performing chest compressions.

"[I] flipped him over, started doing chest compressions. I didn't have any equipment, no gloves, no oxygen, no mask, nothing," he said.

Malone continued doing the compressions until an airport police officer brought him an automated external defibrillator (AED), which he used to deliver a shock to the man's heart. He continued CPR until Jacksonville paramedics arrived and took over. 

The paramedics noted Malone's efforts helped restore the man's pulse.

"Two and three minutes does make a difference between life and death," Malone said.

The Jacksonville paramedics transported the man to an area hospital, where it was revealed that he had 100 percent blockage in his main descending artery and required multiple cardiac stents to return normal blood flow.

The man is conscious and expected to make a full recovery. He could return home on Monday.

Malone said while he doesn't like to think about the alternative, he believes his actions saved the man's life.

While Malone's story is extraordinary, it isn't unique among among Hamilton firefighters. Three of his co-workers performed a similar rescue while on board a flight to Florida.

According to Stern, Hamilton firefighters Scott Baum, Todd Schlenk and Dave Glasshagel revived a man who had collapsed on board their flight to Fort Myers, Fla. in 2011. The trio administered lifesaving care while the plane made an emergency landing in Atlanta, Ga.

While their actions may seem heroic to some, Malone thinks he and his fellow first responders were just doing what they do every day -- helping people in need. 

"I chose this profession to help my fellow man. That's what everyone of my brothers here at the firehouse does. That's why we're in this job," he said. 

"The job itself, knowing I make a difference is what brings me to work every day."

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