Family and friends keep hope for injured SJ firefighter

(KGO)
August 31, 2012 6:54:56 PM PDT
A San Jose firefighter remains in intensive care this morning after having a major heart attack while fighting a fire.

San Jose firefighters are a family. They say they know they saved the life of one of their own, "He did not have a pulse and was not breathing at that point," Captain Brian Endicott said. "I initiated CPR."

Ryan suffered a major heart attack after helping knock down a fire at Saint Patrick Cathedral. The 42-year-old firefighter paramedic has been with the department for 15 years. Endicott is one of Ryan's many friends and works with him at station one, "We do this every day," Endicott said. "It's what we do but when it's one of your own that goes down I don't think you can be prepared for that."

Not only are San Jose firefighters supporting Ryan's family, two brothers and a sister, but they are getting support themselves from across the Bay Area, "I've gotten calls from San Francisco, Oakland, Santa Clara, agencies that have had very tragic line of duty deaths over the last few years and they are calling us now to say you were there for us," Captain Mary Gutierrez said.

Members of Saint Patrick Cathedral are grieving their own loss. It could take months to rebuild the historic church which has a congregation of 16,000. The vast majority of parishioners are Vietnamese. They say seeing the damage at this sacred place is difficult, "That is the image I felt," Saint Patrick parishioner Tien Pham said. "I said, 'what is this, is this Vietnam or what?' It is really bad, it is just awful feeling."

The range of emotions is even more intense at Regional Medical Center. There is gratitude a colleague is alive, and hope for his recovery, "It's just a tragic situation that he ended up going down inside there but he's a fighter and he's fighting for his life right now and we're just hoping he pulls through," Endicott said.

Firefighters say they will continue to keep an around-the-clock vigil for Ryan, hoping for some good news.

It has been a difficult August. Earlier this month the department mourned the loss of 41-year-old Captain Jose Martinez who died while fighting a rare, aggressive form of cancer.


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