Firefighters never fear bursting into burning homes, but after fighting a blaze this week, Carlisle firefighters feared the worst and it wasn't because of flames or smoke.
Bright orange flames roared from a home on Thornwood Lane Tuesday night. As far as fires go, this one was routine. Firefighter Christopher Darhower tackled the inferno from the inside until he had burning pain from his inside.
“I took a couple deep breaths thinking I would be just fine. It just got worse from there,” Darhower said.
The 29 year-old collapsed with shooting pain down his left arm. Fellow firefighter Stephen Truesdell tried to tend to his buddy.
“At that point my heart kinda sank,” he said. “I wasn't sure what to expect.”
Darhower was rushed to Holy Spirit Hospital, where doctors said he suffered a heart attack due to a blocked artery.
On Friday morning, Engine 241 pulled up to the hospital to pick up something special: their brother.
“We are a brotherhood, a sisterhood and [we want to show] that we love him as much as he loves the fire service and loves us,” Truesdell said.
Darhower was rolled out in a wheelchair under standard procedure and was then greeted with a hug from Truesdell and a kiss from his girlfriend.
“It's so emotional to me,” said Darhower. “It's like being a part of a family.”
He has quite an extended family. Darhower served tours in Iraq for the U.S. Army and he's currently a Carlisle police officer. Surely, he's used to wearing a uniform and protecting the public. Turns out the civic hero who saves lives needed saving.
“You just don't think about those things. You take them for granted, the fact that you're always there helping everybody else out,” Darhower said. “When it all comes back on you, it's a completely different feeling.”
Right now, the feeling doesn't get much better than being alive and well. Darhower is happy to spend Christmas with his family – minus the cookies and eggnog.
“Looks like salad and a little bit of dressing,” he said laughing. “I love Holy Spirit, but I don't want to be back here anytime soon.”