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Firefighter retires to his home in Forest Park

Henry first responder once saved a life

McDONOUGH — An 18-year veteran firefighter, Phillip Hammond, responded to his last fire call for the Henry County Fire Department this month.

“The department will greatly miss the experience Phillip brought to the department each and every day,” said Brad Johnson, the fire department’s Division Chief of Operations. “He was a leader and a vital part of the department’s Honor Guard.”

Hammond, 58, a firefighter and EMT, was assigned to Station No. 13.

He was born in Anniston, Ala., but he moved to Clayton County with his parents at age 3. He lives in Forest Park, and is a graduate of Forest Park High School. He attended the University of Southern California before joining the United States Marine Corps in 1973. He retired after 15 years of service.

“I worked with my brother at RJ Hammond Sheet Metal Contractors prior to becoming firefighter,” said Hammond. He began working for the fire department in 1994.

“I was already a certified EMT when I joined the HCFD,” he said.

Hammond said he had many memorable incidents from his days as a firefighter and EMT. One came in 2006, when his fire unit went on a drowning call for a 4-year-old boy.

“I revived the child by doing cardiopulmonary resuscitation, and rescue breathing,” said Hammond. “He fell in his father’s fish pond behind their house, and his father pulled him out of the water.”

When firefighters arrived at the McDonough home, the toddler was in his father’s arms, according to Hammond. “I took the child and removed pine straw and leaves out of his mouth,” explained Hammond. “After about one cycle of CPR, I got his heartbeat back, and continued with the rescue breathing. At one point, he went into respiratory distress, so I had to re-open his airway to continue breathing into the child... more HCFD firefighters and paramedics arrived on the scene, and the paramedics took over.”

The child was airlifted to Atlanta Medical Center hospital.

“Once he arrived at the hospital, he started breathing on his own,” recalled the retired firefighter. “He remained at the hospital for over a week, but when he was released, he walked out of the hospital on his own.”

Hammond has a daughter and twin granddaughters. He is engaged and has plans to pursue working in real estate.

“On behalf of the Henry County Fire Department, we thank Firefighter/EMT Phillip Hammond for his dedication and service to the citizens of Henry County and we wish him well in his retirement,” said Capt. Sabrina Puckett.