Community rallies around sick firefighter

PHILLIPSBURG, Ohio (WDTN) – A Phillipsburg firefighter is struggling to survive after complications with the H1N1 virus.

Firefighters in Phillipsburg are trying everything they can to help one of their own through a difficult time.

“When you’re in the fire service, you consider yourself a brother,” said Lt. Nick Magoteaux with the Phillipsburg Fire Department. “No matter if you like the person or don’t, you’re brothers for life.”

Inside the walls of the fire department of East Poplar Street, the crew is as close as family.

But they never imagined the struggle one of their own would be going through that could potentially take his life.

“I mean, it hit us real hard,” said Magoteaux.

Earlier in the month, Phillipsburg firefighter Art Springer was admitted into Sycamore Hospital in Miamisburg with double pneumonia.

Doctors quickly discovered it was caused by the H1N1 virus.

Since then, Springer has been in the fight of his life. He as been placed into the intensive care unit at the hospital and put under a medically induced coma.

“He’s doing well,” said Magoteaux. “He does have his ups and downs. He is in a struggle for his life right now.”

Springer’s brothers at the fire department could not stand idly by with one of their own in the hospital.

Days after his conditioned began to worsen, Phillipsburg firefighters began a campaign to raise money for Springer’s medical bills.

They are selling t-shirts with the slogan “brothers helping brothers” on the website teespring.com.

Their goal has nearly doubled in three days.

“We sold 95 t-shirts in a matter of just a few days,” said Magoteaux. “We’re doing real well. We set the goal at 50.”

With a little more than a week left in that campaign.

The fire crew in Phillipsburg is hoping the name can stay on Springer’s locker before hanging up his gear for good.

“We all have him in our thoughts and prayers,” said Magoteaux. “That’s all we can do right now. We’re going to go out and get him as much money as possible.”

The Phillipsburg Fire Department is also planning a fish fry to raise money for Springer’s medical expenses. It is planned for March 1 at the VFW in Union, OH.

Tickets are being sold for $10.

T-shirts for the Springer campaign can be purchased here .

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