London Fire Brigade

Off-duty firefighter who saved Euston cardiac arrest man talks for first time

20 March 2017

The off-duty firefighter, who helped save the life of a man at Euston station on Saturday, 11 March, has talked for the first time about the rescue.

London Firefighter Nathan Cane was going home after a busy night duty at Whitechapel fire station when he saw that a man had collapsed and a number of people around him.

Nathan, 44, said: "A police officer was with him and I went over to offer my help. People were saying that he was breathing but I could tell that it was agonal gasps - basically his body attempting to breathe after his heart had stopped - and I asked for a defibrillator.

"It was really serious as he was dying in front of me and had turned blue and unresponsive.

"A police officer passed me some toughened scissors and I cut his jumper and placed the defibrillator pads on him and it advised to shock."



"Training kicked in"

All of our firefighters are trained to give immediate medical care, including using defibrillators, which have been on all fire engines, fire rescue units and fire boats since 2008.

Nathan continues: "I had used defibrillators before but this was a very different situation without my colleagues beside me.

"The police officer carried out compressions while I administered oxygen before the London Ambulance Service crews arrived.

"The defibrillator didn't recommend any further shocks and his heart had gone back into rhythm.

"The training just kicked in and I led but I couldn't have done this without the support of the other emergency service members, who all worked well together."

Search for Nathan

The search for Nathan started when Channel 4 news presenter Cathy Newman tweeted shortly afterwards that she'd like to find the firefighter who helped saved her uncle.

Nathan has served the capital for the past 20 years, having previously been stationed at Shoreditch fire station. He is married with two daughters and lives in Stockport.

He concluded: "It had been a busy night shift, so I was a bit shattered, but the training just kicked in.

"I've been told by an officer at British Transport Police that they are going to put me forward for an award which is very humbling.

"I was still able to make my train and Virgin very kindly upgraded me to first class."



London Fire Commissioner Dany Cotton said: "Nathan is a credit to London Fire Brigade and his quick actions brought the man back to life. All London firefighters are trained to give immediate emergency care so if we’re the closest, we can give people a far better chance of survival."

Around 32 per cent of people survive a cardiac arrest in a public place but, where there is a defibrillator and someone trained to use it, the chance of survival can increase to 80 per cent.

Cycle Paramedic, Benjamin Watts, who attended the incident, said: "I would like to thank the off-duty firefighter, British Transport Police Officers and station staff, for their quick thinking, which gave the patient the best possible chance of survival.

"While we always prioritise patients in cardiac arrest and get to them quickly, the sooner CPR is started, the better the patient's chance of survival.

"We would encourage more people to learn CPR and how to use a defibrillator so more lives can be saved."

British Transport Police Officers PC Aidy Young and PC Ben Payne were on duty at Euston station and came to the gentleman's aid when they realised what had happened.

PC Payne said: "Luckily the off-duty firefighter saw what had happened and was able to help the gentleman straight away.

"He alerted myself and PC Young and between us we continued giving the gentleman CPR and used the defibrillator.

"His family were with him and it was a huge relief when he started breathing again. We wish him a full and speedy recovery."