Montclair fire official John Thomas saves choking motorist in Clifton

Montclair fire official John Thomas saved the life of a choking motorist in Clifton earlier in July.

Montclair fire official John Thomas saved the life of a choking motorist in Clifton earlier in July. (7/29/16)

CLIFTON - A Montclair Fire Department official is being hailed as a hero for helping to save the life of a motorist who was choking.

John Thomas says that he was on his way home from work earlier this month when he noticed something amiss while waiting in traffic.

“I noticed the driver behind me was bobbing back and forth in his car, a little unusual. When the light turned green I was about to proceed, and I saw him and his friend get out of the car. The driver was leaning over the hood of his car, so I figured there was a problem there,” Thomas says.

Thomas says that when he came up on the two men, he noticed that one of them was choking.

“I was thinking, ‘Am I really going to die right here?’ or what was going to happen,” says Alejandro Cordova, the man who was choking.

“I noticed his lips were starting to turn blue. I said ‘I need you to relax. I'm going to come up behind you. I'm going to push on your stomach.’”

Thomas was able to give Cordova the Heimlich maneuver right in the middle of a busy Clifton intersection.

“I looked behind me and everybody was backed up on the road,” Cordova says. “'I’m thankful that [Thomas] just didn't think about it just went for it.”

Thomas says that Clifton first responders also helped since the entire incident happened in front of the Clifton Fire house.

Lifesaving efforts were a theme in New Jersey this week.

The Howell Police Department highlighted their responders on Facebook after an officer and Howell EMT saved the life of an 82-year-old man who was hit by a garbage truck.

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