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Salute The Badge: Community rallies for Dalhart Firefighter recovering after heart attack

Ryan Beattie recovers at Northwest Texas Hospital. Beattie suffered a heart attack while fighting a grass fire near Dalhart on Thursday. (Photo courtesy of GoFundMe page set up for Beattie)

Dalhart's Ryan Beattie was put to the test Thursday, February 23.

Just two months on the job as a firefighter for the Dalhart Volunteer Fire Department, he was fighting his first fire.

Dry conditions and the Panhandle winds made it a busy day for the Dalhart crew, which then turned into a fight to save Beattie's life.

"I got up and went to the firehouse just like any other day. I guess I got caught up in that moment and I don’t remember too much about it," Beattie said.

As an active wildfire in 50 mile-per-hour winds was threatening the area, quickly advancing toward the city, Beattie was working on one of the firetrucks.

"It was a really windy day. Every time you put the fire out you’d get wind wrapping around and it would reignite. We had to keep resetting," Beattie said.

Beattie 'blacked out', falling to the ground and the next thing he remembers he was waking up in Northwest Texas Hospital in Amarillo.

"When he came to, in the ground, he got a mucus plug in his right lung and that collapsed his lung, which led to cardiac arrest," Ryan's wife, Lindy Beattie said.

Beattie also suffered several broken ribs.

He said his brothers at the Department saved his life. When the call 'man down' came across the radios, the crew arrived in minutes and used an Automated External Defibrillator to revive him.

"When a call comes out you automatically think dehydration call, something like that. It definitely wasn’t that," Chief of the Dalhart Volunteer Fire Department, Curtis Brown said.

"If somebody’s down, we are going to take care of them," Brown said.

Five days later, Beattie is recovering. He has much healing to do and won't return to the crew for quite some time, or to his job at Hilmar Cheese. He just started working there and hasn't yet qualified for insurance.

"This young family is gonna need a lot of help through this. It’s hard to say how long before Beattie can return to work at Hilmar Cheese. The bills don’t stop they keep rolling in," Brown said.

To help with medical expenses and more, Beattie's sister-in-law started a GoFundMePage to help alleviate the costs the family will incur.

"I’m having a hard time with it because you think, how are you ever going to pay these people back. It’s a big weight lifted off of us as far as how we are going to make the next bill. We really appreciate it," Lindy said.

His brothers at the Department are helping as much as possible, by posting updates and encouragement on their Facebook page.

Donations to help out the Beattie family can also be made at Dalhart Federal Savings & Loan by making a check payable to Ryan Beattie and drop it off to the bank or mail it to PO Box 1509 Dalhart, Texas, 79022, please add Attention Sheryl Hall or Abby Cook.

Brown said the crew is looking forward to Beattie showing up to the Department's big fundraiser Saturday, a chili cook-off at the Rita Blanca Coliseum.

"My crew, we are one big family. You gain 34 other people that are now your brothers and sisters," Brown said.

ABC 7 News salutes Beattie and the Dalhart Volunteer Fire Department for putting their lives on the line to keep our community safe.

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