Local News

AC repairman saves Smithfield man

Posted August 27, 2009 9:37 p.m. EDT
Updated October 9, 2009 6:43 a.m. EDT

— Todd Borton, of Smithfield, can credit part of his survival from a heart attack to his air conditioning repairman who made an unexpected stop at his home to check on a newly installed unit.

“I was just coming down 301 and I said, ‘Well, I just need to stop and see if there’s good air flow in his vents,’” repairman Aaron Gerrell said of his trip to Borton's home on Aug. 11. “For some reason, I just pulled over and knocked on the door.”

Borton said the two checked the vents in the house and looked at the thermostat. He doesn't remember anything after that.

“All of a sudden Todd went into a jerk and fell backwards,” Gerrell said. “His head hit the dryer. I knew right then that something was drastically wrong.”

Borton, 47, a father of seven children, had suffered a massive heart attack.

“I jumped on him, did CPR,” Gerrell said. “His heart had stopped.”

Gerrell, who used to work on a rescue squad in the 1970s, got Borton’s heart pumping again, and kept him alive until paramedics arrived.

“It was absolutely critical. His actions gave us something to work with when we got there,” Smithfield paramedic David Minor said. “That’s why early CPR is stressed so much because it gives EMS a chance when we get there if compressions are continuous.”

Borton was doing fine on Thursday and said he considers Gerrell a good friend. “He did a wonderful thing,” he said.