Kamloops firefighter back at work after co-workers saved his life | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Kamloops firefighter back at work after co-workers saved his life

Mike Silva is back at work four months after his co-workers saved his life.
Image Credit: FACEBOOK / Kamloops Firefighters Charitable Society
February 18, 2020 - 2:30 PM

Four months after his co-workers saved his life, a Kamloops firefighter is back at work.

Mike Silva has been working with Kamloops Fire Rescue for 15 years and was enjoying some time off in Blue River with two other Kamloops firefighters in last fall. On Oct. 15 around 12 p.m., the trio went out to The Grill for lunch. Silva wasn’t feeling well, and during his meal, he fell unconscious and slumped onto the table.

Silva's peers began working to save him, and found he had no pulse.

John Vlismas, part-owner of The Grill, says the restaurant shut down between 12:30 p.m. and 4 p.m. while the firefighters worked to bring his heartbeat back. Vlismas says it was a stroke of luck that not only were the firefighters there, but also medical professionals.

“It was a customer, a European surgeon who happened to be here at the time,” Vlismas says. “And a couple of people from Mike Wiegele heli-skiing, they were here and they brought the defibrillator.”

The doctor, firefighters and nurses who happened to be at the restaurant all worked to stabilize him as the Air Ambulance was dispatched. Vlismas says the helicopter landed in the parking lot at around 4 p.m. and took Silva to hospital.

Kamloops Fire Rescue platoon captain Darryl Cooper says the first responders on scene kept Silva alive with CPR.

“He had a heart attack... They choppered him to Kamloops and then Kelowna, and my understanding is doctors said he had a legitimate heart attack, a full blockage, 100 percent blockage on one of his coronary arteries,” Cooper says.

Credit: FACEBOOK / Kamloops Fire Fighters Charitable Society

According to a post on Kamloops Firefighters Charitable Society Facebook page, Cooper was in an induced coma for 48 hours after surgery. When doctors saw improvements, they begin the process of awakening him, and he was able to talk to the nurses upon waking.

Cooper says Silva was kept in the hospital for about a week and is now on his first day back at the job.

“We cannot believe his recovery. It’s four months and he’s back to work. We get guys who blow out a shoulder or bad knees and they’re off for longer than that. It’s amazing,” Cooper says. “Doctors have given him the OK… He’s passed all his physical tests, he’s passed his stress test, he’s all good.”

Silva took on the role of acting lieutenant today. The regular staff who fill that role are on vacation, sick or on training courses, and Silva jumped at the chance.

“I gave him the option, ‘Would you like to be firefighter?’ But he’s itching to get back in the seat, you can’t hold him,” Cooper says. “Mike’s a modest guy… he just wants to get back to work.”

Cooper says the morale around the fire hall is at a high today, as staff welcome him back.

“It’s unbelievable. The team all came over and wanted to hug him and shake his hand. People have been swinging by who want to say hi,” Cooper says. “It’s really great, a really good feeling.”

To contact a reporter for this story, email Jenna Wheeler or call (250) 819-6089 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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