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Two honored for CPR save in Monroe

MONROE — One never knows how important they could be when it comes to saving a life. But two complete strangers learned this lesson in a very interesting way.
Last month, Snohomish County Fire District 7 presented Matt Stirk and Muishe Opulencia with a Community Hero Award after they saved a man who went into cardiac arrest.
While Dennis Fugier and his wife were dining at a Mexican restaurant in downtown Monroe, Fugier suddenly went into cardiac arrest. He slumped over in his chair as his face began to turn purple from the lack of oxygen. Opulencia saw him in distress and immediately began to perform CPR and Stirk jumped in.
“We heard “help somebody call 911” and my wife and I rushed back in,” Stirk said in an interview with KOMO-TV news.
Minutes later, paramedics arrived and successfully used a defibrillator to revive Fugier and gave him the best shot for survival while he was being transported to a medical facility.
“If it had not been for the two citizens who gave me CPR ... I will always be grateful to them,” Fugier said.
CPR can be a vital tool that can help someone who is experiencing heart issues in a life or death situation. Around nine out of 10
people who undergo cardiac arrest outside of a medical facility die. According to the Center for Disease Control, CPR can double or triple the chance of survival for someone faced with a heart issue.
“Each minute before we get there, the heart becomes less responsive,” said Scott Dorsey, Fire District 7’s Deputy Chief for its EMS unit.
Additionally, automated external defibrillators can also increase chances of survival. These defibrillators, also known as AEDs, can be found in almost any public space. They not only instruct the user how to apply the AED and how to begin CPR, but they also emit an electric shock that can restart the heart.
Many local fire departments, medical organizations and nonprofits like the Red Cross offer training sessions and certifications for community members who are interested in more instruction  in CPR and other actions they can take to help those in need.
To learn more about a CPR class, contact Fire District 7 at 360-794-7666 or online at


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