Heroes honored for saving man's life

Dale Horton survives after 20 minutes without pulse

In honor of National Heart Month, five Orange County firefighters and paramedics were awarded Thursday for their lifesaving efforts.

On January 5, first responders were called to the Belle Isle community to help Dale Horton, who was on the ground.

Horton said he was waiting at the bus stop for his son to come home from Conway Middle School when went into cardiac arrest.

"I had no classic symptoms. I didn't have chest pain, I didn't have pain in my arm.  All I felt was a warm spot on my chest," said Horton.

Thirty minutes after Horton felt the first symptom, he was in an ambulance being rushed to Orlando Regional Medical Center. First responders said the outcome did not look good. However, Thursday morning, Horton joined the team who saved his life as they received an award.

"Twenty-plus minutes without a pulse, in my 15-year career with Orange County, I did a couple years with city of Ocoee prior to that, I have never seen a patient recover this well from not having a pulse that long," said Lt. Michael Creel, of Orange County Fire Rescue.

Creel was one of the five to receive the lifesaving award, but the bigger message they want to get out is that you don't have to wait for paramedics to arrive to save someone's life.

"What we're really trying to get out there is that the public can help greatly. If you see a person down and establish they don't have a pulse, start chest compressions immediately and don't stop until 911 gets there," Creel said.

Horton's wife, and a citizen driving by, helped Creel, starting CPR.  Because of the flow of oxygen, doctors said Horton had no brain damage, which is remarkable for the amount of time he was without a pulse.

"We do the best we can and get there when we can, but the first person on that scene has the opportunity to save a life so high quality chest compressions," Creel said.