A former British architect from Upper Tysoe, Warwickshire has described the moments when he “died” for five minutes after suffering a cardiac arrest while putting out a house fire.
Steve Taylor, 64, and his wife Jo, 53, who own a holiday home together, were having dinner on 14 January when smoke started rising from the side of the house.
“We were eating dinner with Jo’s 80-year-old parents when smoke suddenly started pouring through the light fittings in the ceiling and the alarms went off,” Mr Taylor was quoted as saying to PA.
He then led the family including his five children out as he saw the side of the house and the roof engulfed by flame.
“I got everybody out of the building and went back in to see where the smoke was coming from.”
He said that as the property includes their holiday home, there were about 10 fire extinguishers around which he used to attempt to put out the fire before help arrived.
“I was bashing holes into the ceiling upstairs and spraying with the fire extinguisher into the rafters to try to put the fire out,” he said.
“But it was everywhere. There were effectively 20 fires happening at once within the house and I couldn’t put them out quick enough.
“It took eight minutes for firefighters to arrive which felt like an eternity. I had just used up the last extinguisher when they got here.”
As the firefighters took over, Mr Taylor said he felt his heart racing.
“Towards the end, the fire was red hot and I couldn’t see my hand in front of my face for the smoke. I was breathless and sweating and I remember sitting down on the patio completely knackered. My heart was going like a train engine and not slowing down.
“I’d had a heart attack 10 years ago, so I know what it feels like.”
He then informed one of the firefighters that he was having a heart attack and managed to wash down an Asprin before “everything went dark.”
“They tried CPR on me at first which broke six of my ribs, but it wasn’t working. There was a firefighter called Pip Blair, who used to be a paramedic, and she used a defibrillator on my chest.”
“My heart stopped for five minutes and they thought I was going to die.”
“Technically, I did die for five minutes, and it was the strangest feeling. I went to a place that was really dark and cold and silent,” he added.
He said the first thing that came back to him was his sense of touch and he remembered touching Ms Blair’s arm.
“I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for Pip and my five kids wouldn’t have a dad. She knew exactly what she was doing.”
He was later taken to the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford where he spent three and a half weeks.
He is now recovering at home while the house is being repaired after the damage from the inferno.
Mr Taylor said he has developed a friendship with Ms Blair who saved his life.
“I got to meet Pip again and thank her and we’ve become good friends. When we spoke about what happened, she told me that only 10 to 12 per cent of people are revived using the defibrillator and most don’t make it if the first two attempts are unsuccessful,” he said.