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Gift of life: Phoenix man thanks firefighter son, others for saving his life

Tommy Dee (right) poses with his son, Derek (left) and his grandson. (KTAR Photo/Kathy Cline)

PHOENIX — The father of a Phoenix firefighter said if it weren’t for several people, including his firefighter son, he would not have survived longer than Sept. 20.

In a short ceremony at Phoenix Fire Station No. 20, located near Seventh and Glendale avenues, on Wednesday, Tommy Dee thanked his son, Derek, his neighbor, Jason Ross, and others for saving his life.

Derek Dee remembers the call he answered on Sept. 20 like it was yesterday. He was in the process of getting his gear together when he noticed something odd.

“I saw the address … a little bit of disbelief,” he said.

Ross also remembers that day well. He recalled Tommy’s wife pounding on the door.

“I thought maybe someone had broken into her home, or someone was chasing her,” he said. “She said she thought Tommy was having a heart attack.”

Ross said he ran over and performed CPR until Derek and other first responders arrived. While they waited, a 911 operator kept Tommy’s wife calm over the phone.

Tommy was hospitalized for six days but recovered after having stents put in his heart.

While he was shaken up by the ordeal, Tommy said being in the care of his son and others helped.

“You just can’t get any better,” he said.

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