PATERSON, NJ - When the Paterson Fire Department and Paterson Police Department joined together on May 1 for a joint promotion ceremony Fire Chief Brian McDermott looked around the room and stated “this is what collaboration does.”

His desire to build greater teamwork into the city’s public safety efforts was something he has worked towards since his first day on the job, he said, not just because of his long standing friendship with Police Chief Troy Oswald, but also because of the first responder’s shared desire to “save lives.”

Just weeks later, on a sunny afternoon as two teams joined together for a softball game at Paterson’s Commons Field, those words would seem like a premonition as an off-duty Paterson firefighter and a retired Paterson Police officer leaped into action and saved the life of a spectator that had gone into cardiac arrest.

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“This wasn’t just about John and Washington being in the right place at the right time,” McDermott told TAPinto Paterson of the Saturday heroics. “Instinctively these men knew how to work together and put their training into life saving action.”

“I couldn’t be prouder of them.”

According to a report of the incident viewed by TAPinto Paterson, Firefighter John Molina was coaching one of the teams when he observed the female victim “gasping for air and subsequently dropping to the ground.”

Immediately putting his life saving skills to work Molina approached the woman and noticed that her lips and tongue were blue, and she had no pulse. Setting her on her back to begin CPR Molina was joined by retired Paterson Police Lt. Washington Griffin who happened to be in the stands. Together the men began two-person CPR.

In a phone conversation on Tuesday a modest Molina replayed the steps he took, from noticing the situation to taking the appropriate action to render aid to the victim. Crediting his extensive training the Paterson resident brushed aside accepting the title of "hero" saying that what he did was simply his "duty."

"It's what I signed up for," Molina said. "Whether I am on duty or of I'm here to serve the residents of Paterson."

Offering another reminder that the save was even more significant because the two men were not in uniform, or on duty, at the time Public Safety Director Jerry Speziale said that “myself and the men and women of Paterson’s finest and bravest are totally committed at all times.”  

Both men continued tending to the victim, and with the assistance of on duty first responders now at the scene, worked with her until she had a pulse.

The victim was transported to St. Joseph’s Hospital  by Paterson Fire Department EMS where she was reported to be “doing much better” and in stable condition.


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