Junior firefighter in Abington saves neighbor's life after heart attack

Beccah Hendrickson Image
Wednesday, June 17, 2020
Junior firefighter in Abington saves neighbor's life after heart attack
A junior firefighter in Abington is being hailed as a hero for jumping into action when his neighbor had a heart attack in the driveway.

ABINGTON, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- When a fire truck comes screaming past your house, it's rarely a good sign, but for 17-year-old junior firefighter Justin Ehly, a parade of trucks in front of his home is a dream come true.

"The best part of my life is running with the fire company. Love it. Nothing like hearing the pager go off, hopping on a truck and going to a call," he said.

"He was probably about two years old. He used to dress up in all of his firefighter outfits and boots," said his mom, Erin Murray.

Ehly has been a part of the Rosyln Fire Company in Abington for a little over a year, but when the pandemic started, the department had to sideline its junior firefighters for safety. Little did the teen know, he would still need his training.

"Thursday, March 19, it was about 10 o'clock in the morning. I was still sleeping and my little sister woke me up to tell me that the neighbor was on the ground in the driveway," he said. His neighbor had a heart attack.

"I was so shook up I didn't know what to do at that point," said Murray.

"I got down on my knees and checked her pulse. No pulse, so she was dead. So I started compressions and kept going till paramedics arrived," said Ehly.

The American Heart Association says when someone goes into cardiac arrest outside of the hospital, their chance of survival is about 10%. Ehly was able to start CPR right away and thanks to his quick thinking, his neighbor's still alive.

"For a 17-year-old kid, to stay that calm and do that, it's pretty amazing," said Roslyn Fire Company Chief Michael Ratka.

The department celebrated him with a parade during quarantine, and now that lockdown restrictions have been eased, they finally welcomed him back to work.

While Ehly feels fortunate to suit up again, it's his family, both at home and at the station, who are happy to have him around.

"I'm lucky, I got a great kid," said Murray.