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Calif. Firefighter Suffers Heart Attack On Duty

CHICO, Calif. -- A Cal Fire-Butte County, Calif., crew member about to start his last day at the Paradise Pines fire station suffered an apparent heart attack early Monday morning and had to be revived using a defibrillator.

Officials said firefighter Romie Buanno was rushed to Feather River Hospital in Paradise about 3 a.m. He was listed in critical condition, but friends said he was alert and appeared to be improving later on Monday.

Buanno was sleeping at the station when he suddenly awoke and was obviously in distress. Engineer Garrett Needles reportedly heard a shrill scream and went to Buanno's aid.

Cal Fire spokesman Scott McLean said Needles grabbed a medical bag, called for paramedics, and began CPR.

As Buanno continued to suffer, Needles used a a portable automated external defibrillator to shock his heart and restore a beat.

Buanno is in his 30s, but authorities didn't have his exact age Monday. McLean said he was recently promoted to an engineer/medic position and was transferring to Cal Fire's Amador-El Dorado Unit.

Buanno remained at the hospital Monday night, and is scheduled to undergo testing today to determine his condition and treatment.

McLean said firefighters and union officials will assist Buanno and his family as he recovers.

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