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Utica Firefighter Suffers Heart Attack Fighting Fire; Still Critical

Utica, NY (WIBX) A Utica firefighter remains in critical condition after suffering a heart attack while battling a blaze a Kennedy Plaza Apartments Monday night, according to fire Chief Russ Brooks.

Despite an annual physical and mandatory fitness programs, ‘cardiac incidents’ are not uncommon for firefighters, he said.

“As soon as the bell hits your pulse doubles. You’re faced with the task of donning 75-80 pounds of equipment, ascending 17 floors and fighting fire and responsible for evacuating numerous people. It’s a very stressful job.”

A security guard at Kennedy Plaza responded to the 16th floor and was met with a ‘wall of flames’, Brooks said, and had to be treated for second degree burns to his face and hands, as well as smoke inhalation.

A tennant suffered a seizure while being evacuated from the building, he said.

The fire was called in around 7 p.m. and was confined to floors 15-thru-17, all of which were under construction for an ongoing renovation, according to Brooks.

What caused it is still under investigation.

Kennedy Plaza Apartments was recently purchased by Liberty Affordable Housing of Rome, NY. Brooks called the new owners “very responsible and helpful” regarding Monday’s fire.

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