Valley man thanks firefighters for saving his life

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX -- A Valley man is crediting firefighters and doctors for saving his life.

He had a cardiac arrest while hiking Piestewa Peak, and he said if it were not for their fast action, he would not be alive today.   

When the 67-year-old woke up from his medically induced coma at Arizona Heart Hospital, he asked to meet the firefighters who saved his life so that he could thank them in person.

Ronald Felstead said he's been an avid hiker for about 13 years.

“I would very much like to be on the hill again," Felstead said.

But last Sunday something happened while on the hill that has never happened before.

"I had no recollection at all of what happened," he said..

The Arizona Heart Hospital said he had a cardiac arrest while climbing the peak.

His friends who were walking behind him saw him face down, started doing compressions, and firefighters said they were there within 15 minutes.

"Because of those initial calls and the fast action that we responded to, we get to be here and talk with our patient today,"  Phoenix fire Captain Mike Adelman said.

"When they talk about a 15-minute response from the station up the trail and working on me treating me, that's pretty amazing," Felstead said.

Adelman said it was a close call.

"In route it was upgraded to a full code,” Adelman said.

"It could have been so different," Felstead said.

Felstead's wife, Pam, said she feels blessed that it all worked out.

"We just say our prayers every night and thank God," she said.

Arizona Heart Hospital said Felstead was put in a medically induced coma for a few days, but once he was alert, he started asking for the people who saved his life.

"You guys are incredible," he said to the firefighters. "I just can't thank you enough. Thank you. These men are angels. They saved my life."

He said he's feeling a lot better.

“Other than a few bruises -- I've got bumps and lumps on my head from falling, I guess, but that will all heal," Felstead said.

He said he hopes to get back on the mountain soon.

"I'd like to be there next Sunday, but I'll have to ask the doctor about that," Felstead said.

A stent was put in one of Felstead's arteries to reduce the chance of another heart attack.

His family said they are looking forward to seeing him back on his feet soon.