Off-duty firefighter saves collapsed bicyclist

As bicyclists return to roads, authorities hold bike safety event

A local man has a second chance at life thanks to a quick thinking of an off-duty firefighter.

When Madison firefighter Todd Sailor rode his motorcycle past the Paoli Market on Thursday afternoon, he saw a medical emergency.A bicyclist who stopped outside the store had collapsed.


“I was sitting right here behind the counter and a customer comes in and says, ‘Somebody needs your help, somebody needs your help out here right away!'” said Sherrie Ruegsegger, a store worker who was a witness to the incident.

Ruegsegger called 911 while the bicyclist’s friend tried to revive him using CPR.

When Sailor passed on his motorcycle, he said his 23 years of emergency experience kicked in.

He started using a different lifesaving technique on the collapsed cyclists, CCR, sometimes referred to as compression-only CPR.

“I’m not a hero,” Sailor said. “Anyone with the same training could have done the exact same thing. I just happened to be at the right place at the right time.”

Ruegsegger said by the time EMS got the bicyclist on a stretcher, he had a heartbeat again.

“I got a thank you and that’s good enough for me,” Sailor said.

This isn’t the first time Sailor answered the call of duty off the clock. In 2008, he pulled a woman from a fiery car crash near the Badger Interchange on Interstate 94, and helped clear the way for emergency crews to take her by MedFlight helicopter  to the hospital.