Firefighter: "I died and those guys were able to save me"

Firefighter: "I died and those guys were able to save me" »Play Video
RICHLAND, Wash. -- KEPR was the first to speak with a Benton County firefighter who was shocked and nearly died last week. He's out of the hospital and recovering.

"I died, but I'm not dead," Ty Schoenwald says.

Schoenwald recalls the terrifying experience that nearly killed him.
Walking through campus at WSU Tri-Cities, the 22-year-old has a new take on life.

A professor stops to give him a hug.

Hard to believe it was just last week that 2,700 volts shot through his body, nearly stopping his heart.

The volunteer Benton County firefighter describes the initial call as mundane.

"There was really no intention of a high stress call. It was just another call," he says.

Ten minutes later, he was given the okay to spray water on this woodpile. He'd been told the fallen power line across the top wasn't hot.

But it was. And when water came in contact with it, the surge shot back to Ty and his fire extinguisher.

"I got rid of the can and my next thought was, 'I don't want to be here,' so I rolled out a couple of times - that's where I don't have any memory," he says.

The electricity entered through his right hand, shocking his heart. It went back out his left. His hands are still healing from the burns.

Fighting a ticking clock, fellow firefighters stepped in and performed CPR. A defibrillator shocked his fluttering heart and got blood pumping again.

"The fact that these guys were able to do what they did, so quickly, valiantly, where they didn't even think, it was just boom, it happened and they saved my life," Ty said.

Ty's fiancee, Ashley, is still processing the accident, but she knows it hasn't shaken his resolve.

"Firefighting is his passion, and I could never ask him to quit doing it," she says.

As the son of a firefighter, Ty can't wait to get out there and protect our community again, despite his close call.

"I died and those guys were able to save me," he says.

An investigation into the accident is still ongoing.

There has been no disciplinary action taken against the linemen who mistook the active line.

Schoenwald says he has no hard feelings toward the PUD or the workers who thought the line was dead.