MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - December 21st, 2009. "I didn't have time to fear," said Warren Shirley.
Shirley came home from Christmas shopping feeling really bad.
"I knew I wasn't as cognizant as I needed to be," he said.
Mr. Shirley came through the front door and soon realized he was having a heart attack yet he was conscious enough to call 911 and his minister.
"I really thought this was it," Shirley said.
By this time Pintlala's Assistant Fire Chief Jim Perry arrived and had a conversation with Shirley on the living room couch Then it happened.. in a blink of an eye.
"His body stiffened up and his eyes rolled back," Perry remembered.
Shirley's heart stopped, sending him into full cardiac arrest. By now the situation was even more urgent. Perry and Teresa Smith of Haynes Ambulance pushed aside the coffee table and laid Shirley on the floor.
"He had a flatline experience," said Smith.
For 15 full minutes Warren Shirley was gone, lights out, dead in the true sense of the word, according to Smith. Perry used the shock pads while Teresa pumped air to Shirley's lungs.
Perry and Smith were close to losing Shirley but they refused to give up. They brought him back on the fourth shock.
"We got here so quickly and that probably played a role," said Smith.
It turns out Warren Shirley had a 100% blockage in one artery. That's been cleared up and today, Shirley sports a small but all important heart-device implant in his chest.
"It really is by the grace of God," Shirley said.
There is no doubt who made a life-saving difference in this story.
"We simply had a job to do," said Perry.
Shirley calls them 'angels' on this side of Heaven. In fact, Warren Shirley makes it a point to find Perry and Smith on the twenty-first of each month to give them a hug and say 'thank you.'
"They saved my life and without them we wouldn't be here talking about it," said Shirley.
Medical statistics nationwide show that only 12% of the people who have heart attacks survive if they live in the city. The survival rate is much lower if they live in the county.
Back from the dead Warren Shirley admits life is a little different for him now. He's more appreciative of the simple beauties, more aware of what matters.. thanks to two friends and another one.. the One from on high.