By Brooke Shafer

FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – For Tony Chin, October 30th, 2020, started off as a pretty normal day.

The Tamarac Fire Rescue captain was teaching at the Coral Springs Fire Academy that day. However, he felt tired and weak, but didn’t think too much of it until a friend, a fellow firefighter, noticed something was off.

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“I’ve known him for many many years and he said you know something just didn’t look right. He said let’s go to the hospital and get you checked out. He then pulled my line, which I always tell my patients, ‘hey, if it’s nothing, you’ll be home in an hour,'” said Chin.

It turns out it wasn’t ‘nothing’. He had 100 percent blockages in parts of his heart.

The 47-year-old dad found himself at Broward Health Medical Center and then in the Cardiac ICU with a coronary artery disease that could’ve led to a heart attack.

Dr. Mohamed Osman performed the emergency life-saving surgery to remove the blockages in Chin’s heart.

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“If you think about it, a young healthy person and fire rescue staff, in particular, are people at the top of their game. They are in top physical and mental condition and sometimes it’s hard to believe that it will happen to me,” said Dr. Osman.

Chin is out of the hospital but still goes to cardiac rehab three times a week.

February is American Heart Month. Chin is asking that everyone know the signs of trouble like chest pain, nausea, vomiting, or sweating. He’s especially calling on his fellow firefighters, who aren’t used to being the patient, to take care of themselves too.

He said he sometimes reflects on what could’ve happened had he not gotten the medical attention he did.

“During the whole process I just thought about my family and what would happen if I wasn’t there, and it hurts so bad,” said Chin.

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His message to everyone and to other firefighters, be sure to know the signs and listen to your friends.