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Off-Duty Firefighters Save Life At Ardsley Football Game

A pair of off-duty lieutenants from the Yonkers Fire Department are credited with saving the life of a man at Saturday's Ardsley-Irvington football game.
A pair of off-duty lieutenants from the Yonkers Fire Department are credited with saving the life of a man at Saturday's Ardsley-Irvington football game. Photo Credit:

WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- A pair of off-duty Yonkers firefighters watching the Panthers' homecoming football game were in the right end zone at the right time on Saturday.

Lt. Mike Hanney and Lt. Tom Hewitt revived an 82-year-old grandfather who collapsed and went into cardiac arrest about 20 yards away from where they were standing.

Hanney and Hewitt, with nearly a half-century in combined firefighting experience in Yonkers, recognized that seconds matter once they saw people running and volunteer ambulance lights go on near the Ardsley High School bleachers. The firefighters spotted a man choking, turning blue and exhibiting no pulse.

"I went right to chest compressions,'' Hanney said.

Hanney began cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) as Hewitt cleared the man's airway to help him breath.

About a minute later, Hewitt declared: "Oh my God, Mike, I have a pulse."

The man, who officials are restricted from naming, was taken to White Plains Hospital, where he was alert and responsive and eventually released.

Not only were families treated to a dramatic real life rescue, but Ardsley went on to beat the Irvington Bulldogs, 21-14, in the final seconds of the football game.

"It was a win for him and it was a win for Ardsley,'' Hanney said Wednesday.

Hanney's daughter, Kaitlyn, is a freshman at Ardsley High, and his son, Mike, attends Ardsley Middle School.

Hewitt's son, Daniel, plays junior varsity football as a freshman at Ardsley High School.

Spectators and fellow Yonkers officials credited the pair of first responders as "heroes."

Hanney shrugged off the praise, calling himself a "spectator" who happened to be in the right place at the right time.

The lieutenants have racked up significant specialized training; their fire department of paid professionals has made 14,000 runs so far this year.

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