Delco rescuers honored

April 6, 2009 3:42:24 PM PDT
A Delaware County community is honoring eight first responders Monday night for saving the lives of members of the First Baptist Church of Collingdale last November.The gathering of rescue workers and four First Baptist Church members is considered a blessing by some. The retired friends who volunteer to do handiwork at the church were using a gas powered saw to cut concrete for a sump pump in the basement last November when one was overcome by carbon monoxide.

"I was behind the saw, went around and walked behind down hall here."

70-year-old Jerry Justus doesn't remember walking down a hall and fainting.

"This is where I passed out."

His buddies called 911 and within moments, a rescue crew arrived.

"While we were in there, noticed an alarm sound. We asked the gentlemen what the sound was. They said it was their co-detector. Asked how long been going off. They said approximately 2 hours," said Frank Benson, Collingdale Fire Company #1.

The EMT's got the men outside into fresh air. Their strategically placed window fans were not strong enough to pull the odorless, poisonous carbon monoxide fumes out of their enclosed work space. Still the men had to be convinced to go to the hospital where all needed oxygen treatments in a hyperbaric chamber.

"And as soon as the detector entered the building it started to go into levels that just aren't fit for human habitation," said Chief John Moors.

Two of the men who were reluctant to come to the hospital learned they had blockages in hearts. Life threatening blockages that required triple and quadruple bypasses immediately.

"If it wasn't for the Lord using carbon monoxide, I could have had a heart attack anytime doctor said. I could have been doing anything," said Urban Strouse.

Urban and Wally Dykes' hearts are clear. All of them better now and will attend a ceremony honoring the men who saved them from the potentially deadly fate of carbon monoxide. For future indoor projects they'll use electric power tools.

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