Fast action aids man found in cardiac arrest




A quick-thinking gas station employee and a mother and son trained in CPR likely saved a man’s life Saturday afternoon, the Vancouver Fire Department said.

Shell Gas Station employee Irene Risso called 911 at 12:01 p.m., after finding a man slumped in his car, said Vancouver firefighter/paramedic Kevin Stromberg.

The man, in cardiac arrest, was unconscious and unresponsive.

Risso told The Columbian she went out to check on the man, who appeared to be about 70 years old, because his car stayed at the pump for several minutes after he’d paid.

“I went out there and noticed he wasn’t breathing, and his eyes were wide open,” she said. “He was dead.”

Risso called out for help, and ran back into the store to call paramedics. In the meantime, Lorna Croy and her son, Justin, who were also filling up, pulled the man from his car.

They began to administer what Stromberg said was “perfect CPR.”

“She was crying while breathing into him, trying to bring him back to life,” Risso said. “It was really heroic.”

One minute after Risso placed the call, firefighters and paramedics from Truck 5 — who were nearby returning from another call — arrived at the station at 7204 N.E. Fourth Plain Blvd.

Professional lifesavers took over and worked for two or three minutes, until the man’s pulse returned, Risso said.

He was taken to PeaceHealth Southwest Washington Medical Center, Stromberg said. His identity and condition were not available Saturday afternoon, but at 5:30 p.m. Risso called The Columbian to say she had heard the man was in a coma.

The Croys’ decisive actions were exactly what the situation called for, Stromberg said. “It’s just a great thing for individuals to take a first aid and CPR class,” he said. “These individuals had that class and were trained.”

He added that the Croys did not wish to be contacted by the media, but that they would likely be up for a lifesaving award.

“This is definitely one of those types of events that these people should be recognized for,” Stromberg said.

Risso said she was still shaken up several hours after the incident. She said she will “absolutely” be signing up for a CPR class as soon as possible.

CPR classes are taught locally by several groups, including the Red Cross Chapter of Southwest Washington. For more information on classes, visit

Andrea Damewood: 360-735-4542;;