FAIRFIELD — Police, firefighters and paramedics have been honored with public commendations from the town for helping save the life of a man who was unconscious and without a pulse after suffering a heart attack last month.

In a ceremony before a packed room of friends, family and colleagues Wednesday, police Chief Tom Gould presented certificates of commendation to officers Casey Dugas and Blake Wilder and Fire Chief Duane Bickford gave certificates of merit to firefighters Travis Leary, Ira Cohen, Ryan Cote, and Oliver and Trevor MacKenzie for assisting in saving the man’s life.

Shortly after midnight Feb. 6, Dugas and Wilder were called to the Ridge Road home of Troy and Kathleen Hill, where there was a report of a man down. The couple live in the home with their four children.

Troy Hill, 49, had suffered a heart attack, was unconscious and not breathing and had no pulse when the officers arrived, Kathleen Hill recalled Wednesday.

“I woke up in the middle of the night and his head was on my shoulder and he was gasping for air,” she said. “I knew right away when he didn’t respond that he was having a heart attack.”

The cardiac problem was completely unexpected and came without warning, Troy Hill said. He’s relatively young, doesn’t have a family history of heart problems, exercises regularly and isn’t overweight.

Kathleen Hill called 911 and, following the instructions of a dispatcher, started CPR until the two officers arrived. When Dugas and Wilder arrived, they took over resuscitation efforts, aided with a new defibrillator the department received through a grant from the Maine Cardiovascular Health Council.

Troy Hill was shocked with the defibrillator seven times while the officers continued CPR and first responders from the Fairfield Fire Department and Delta Ambulance prepared him to be taken to MaineGeneral Medical Center’s Thayer Center for Health in Waterville. From there, he was airlifted to a hospital in Portland.

Hill doesn’t remember much from that night. After being taken to Portland, he spent 15 days in the hospital, nine of them in an induced coma.

Now he’s back on his feet and ready to return to his job at Oakland-based Regional School Unit 18. Aside from bruising on his ribs where the officers performed CPR to save his life, it’s as though nothing happened.

“It’s a miracle,” he said.

In an email to the town, Tim Pieh, an emergency medical specialist at MaineGeneral, credited the training, equipment and fast action of the officers for reviving Hill.

“I can tell you with confidence your actions were critical in this life saved,” Pieh wrote in the email.

“A young person with no past medical issue who had a cardiac arrest from this rhythm is only able to be saved when the entire first response community commits to carrying the right equipment and is willing to invest in the training. Your officers rapid response and skilled care was key to this success. Time to first shock is well recognized as critical in lives saved.”

After the Wednesday ceremony, Tim and Kathleen Hill spent time thanking every officer and first responder personally. The Hills said they are grateful for the service, but also for the outpouring of support from the community while Troy was recovering in the hospital.

There wasn’t a night when a hot meal wasn’t brought to their home and they were flooded with donations of cash and gift cards to cover their expenses for traveling to Portland, they said.

“It was an overwhelming support from the community,” Kathleen Hill said.

Peter McGuire — 861-9239

[email protected]

Twitter: @PeteL_McGuire

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