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Robert DeWayne (center) is surrounded by firefighters from Phoenix Engine Company 37. (Bob McClay/KTAR)

A Phoenix man is thankful he's alive this holiday season, and he was able to thank the firefighters who saved his life on Tuesday.

In 2010, Robert DeWayne was drinking with friends when his heart stopped following an asthma attack.

"From what they say, I was flatlined for about six minutes," said DeWayne. "They came and responded on the scene and brought me back to life basically."

Firefighters and paramedics from Phoenix Engine 37 and Rescue 27 responded to the scene. They used the latest in EMS technology, including hypothermic treatment, to save DeWayne's brain as they revived him. He was rushed to Paradise Valley Hospital, where he was in an induced coma for 11 days.

DeWayne said he doesn't remember anything until he was well enough to leave the hospital.

Phoenix Fire Captain Brad Parks said firefighters were just doing their job.

"Everybody knew what their roles and responsibilities were, and they performed them flawlessly," he said. "He's the reason we do what we do: to help people."

DeWayne continued living a troubled life after he got out of the hospital. His addiction to drugs and alcohol continued until February of this year, when he was arrested on a warrant for failing to pay child support, and served six months in jail.

Now, DeWayne said he's accepted Christ and is born again. He has been sober since his arrest. Now out of jail, DeWayne works as a mechanic at Jiffy Lube and he said his life is "beautiful. Everything is great."

DeWayne said he owes his life to the firefighters.

"People don't recognize what these people do every day," he said. "They're saving people's lives every day, and I felt it was my duty, as a patient of theirs, to let them know how much I appreciate what they did for me."

Bob McClay, Reporter

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