Anchorage man remembers cardiac arrest in car crash
Richard Lazur doesn't remember the Anchorage car crash during which his heart stopped in 2011.
"I was coming home from work and turned a corner from Jewel Lake [Road] onto Raspberry [Road]. Next thing I know I was waking up, I guess, a few days later my wife said," he said.
Witnesses who called for help saw Lazur's car flip through the air and strike a light pole. Lazur says he had a heart attack while driving and then crashed. Anchorage firefighters say Lazur then went into cardiac arrest.
"His heart muscle was just quivering, and there was no heartbeat whatsoever," said AFD engineer/paramedic Adam Peterson.
Peterson, assigned to Station 5 in Spenard, was one of the medics who responded to Lazur's crash.
"And on the way the engine company that was there radioed us and said that the person that was involved didn't have a pulse and that they were starting CPR," he said.
It was Peterson who ended up shocking Lazur's heart with a defibrillator.
"And I believe it was after the first shock, I think, he came right back into a regular heart rhythm. Which was a very positive sign," said Peterson.
Lazur then regained a pulse, ended up in the hospital and recovered.
Lazur and Peterson talked to KTVA 11 at Station 5 in late February during American Heart Month. Both men have formed a friendship over the lifesaving event that happened on March 30, 2011.
Peterson says firefighters with Engine 7 in Jewel Lake started the initial CPR at the scene. Several other AFD crews were also called to the crash.
"I'm very grateful. I owe my life to this department," said Lazur, an Anchorage psychologist. "I wouldn't have been here. I've had eight good years. And hopefully more, all because of the quick responses of the fire department and guys like Adam who go out there and do this every day to save people's lives."
Lazur and Peterson meet up for lunch to celebrate. Lazur also likes to drop off food to the fire station, along with a note, on the anniversary date of the crash to show his gratitude to AFD and the people who saved him.
AFD Assistant Chief Erich Scheunemann says over the last three years, the department has saved 145 people who suffered cardiac arrest and weren't at a hospital.
During American Heart Month, AFD also held events to teach the public how to do "hands only" CPR.
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