Aspiring Firefighter Saved After Suffering Cardiac Arrest

Jakob Perez | Image by GoFundMe
Jakob Perez | Image by GoFundMe

A young man with a heart to serve others was at the receiving end of some life-saving measures last week after suffering cardiac arrest.

Jakob Perez, 18, known by family and friends as JJ, was a participant in the Citizens Fire Academy (CFA), an eight-week course led by the Allen Fire Department. The course allows residents and businesses to learn about the department’s structure and operations.

The CFA course — not to be confused with the fire service training academy for future firefighters — allows participants to experience demonstrations of emergency operations, fire and life safety training, and an optional ride-along with on-duty firefighters, according to the fire department website.

During the CFA awards ceremony on May 9, Perez took part in a demonstration of the physical ability test that firefighters must pass. He climbed to the fourth level of a training tower and began to hoist a fire hose when he suddenly collapsed.

“I was here, and I happened to hear the hose fall on the ground. I look up, and I see JJ was on the ground,” said AFD Fire Chief Jonathan Boyd, per Fox 4 KDFW.

Two onsite paramedics jumped into action, performing life-saving measures on the teen.

“They performed all the advanced procedures on the stairwell to the tower. It’s just really amazing what they’re able to do in such a small space and such quick time,” Boyd said, per Fox 4.

Perez’ pulse was restored by the time he reached the hospital, where he remains in critical condition in the intensive care unit. However, he is reportedly making great strides toward recovery.

“We later found out that he had a, I think they called it a ‘sudden cardiac death,’ so he was actually gone before he ever hit the ground,” Crystal Hall, Perez’s sister, told Fox 4.

Perez’s family told the news outlet that JJ always knew he wanted to help people and be a hero. He planned to do that by becoming a firefighter. His family called the paramedics who saved him heroes.

“They are heroes, and they saved our hero,” Hall said.

Members of ADF visit Perez every day, and Boyd noted he was looking forward to the day Perez returns to the fire station so the crew can help him achieve his dream of becoming a firefighter.

Perez is also eager to get back to the fire station. During a May 12 visit, he asked Boyd when he could return and do more.

His doctors are working to find the root cause of the sudden cardiac arrest, as his family has said he has no underlying health issues that they were aware of.

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