• Local firefighter's life saved after heart attack, car crash

    By: Elizabeth Hopkins

    Updated:

    FITCHBURG, Mass. - For 28 years, Marty Kukkula has been a firefighter coming to the rescue of countless people in need.

    “He's probably done thousands of medical calls himself,” Fitchburg Fire Chief Kevin Roy said.

    But sometimes, even a hero needs a hand. 

    "He had a major heart attack while driving,” Kaitlin Kukkula, Marty’s daughter, said.

    Marty was in the right place at the right time.  It turns out, Leominster firefighter Derek Ranno was nearby. He heard an emergency call go out, and spun around to respond.

    "Luckily enough, an off-duty firefighter was on their way to drop off his daughter and happened to turn around and help my father, bring him back to life.  Without him, he wouldn't be alive today,” Kaitlin said.

    Marty was minutes from death, three minutes, in fact. That's how long Ranno performed CPR for, standing in the gap at a time doctors say he would have lost his life.

    "Firefighters and first responders jump in. This was a kind of unusual usual one, because its lucky that Derek had a scanner on and heard that the accident was nearby, and jumped into action,” Roy said,

    It was fortunate he did.  Marty’s heart attack led to a car crash. He had several internal injuries, but Ranno kept him alive and Marty was eventually brought to UMass hospital in Worcester

    “He's doing okay today, and he's a fighter,” Kaitlin said.

    Marty is going to be okay, but his daughter says that wouldn't be the case without the help of firefighter Ranno.

    They say they can't thank him and the Leominster fire department enough.

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