Firefighter welcomed home after on the job heart attack

A Knoxville firefighter is expected to make a full recovery after he suffered a heart attack fighting a New Year's Eve fire.

Friday afternoon Captain Mark Lacey got an escort home from the hospital from the Knoxville Fire Chief.

"It's amazing to see him walk out of the hospital. That night it didn't appear things were going to be good for him," said Knoxville Firefighter Greg Sauceman.

Capt. Lacey knew about his ride, but he didn't realize they were going to make several stops along the way.

At KFD headquarters in downtown Knoxville, firefighters on duty lined up to salute him and shake his hand.

"God bless you," one firefighter said.

Fire engines lined the road up to their final stop before going home: Lacey's home base, Station 16.

"He goes out of his way all the time to help people. I think he deserves this too," said Senior Firefighter Chris Patterson. "He's one of the best captains I've ever had in the fire service."

Two weeks after he left for a fire that nearly took his life, he got back in the captain's seat so he could finish what he started.

"His company took him to the fire, now his company gets to take him home," said Sauceman.

KFD spokesperson DJ Corcoran said fighting the fire played a factor in his heart attack. But he also said that being there helped to save his life. Paramedics and an ambulance gave him immediate attention.

"He was transported to UT hospital within 30 minutes, which is unheard of. He couldn't have gotten better care if he would have been the President of the United States."

Until Lacey recovers, it's unclear when he will go back to work.

"We miss him. Thank God he's doing ok," said Patterson.


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