HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – A Hallandale Beach paramedic is fighting for his life after he suddenly collapsed at a fire station last week.
Erik Conde, nicknamed "Hulk" by his co-workers, was nearing the end of his shift Friday morning with the Hallandale Beach Fire Rescue Department when he fell to the floor. Capt. Brian Polomy said Conde's heart stopped pumping and he was not breathing.
Lori Williams, a spokeswoman for the Hallandale Beach Fire Rescue, said Conde had been experiencing flu-like symptoms before he collapsed.
His colleagues treated him at the scene and then rushed him to Aventura Hospital and Medical Center, where he remains in the intensive care unit. The co-workers said a machine is needed to help him breathe properly.
Polomy and his co-workers have set up a GoFundMe page to help Conde's family pay his medical expenses. The page has raised more than $30,000 in one day with a goal of $100,000. Polomy said Conde, 42, of Coconut Creek, is married and has three young children between 5 and 13-years-old.
"As firefighters, as paramedics we are used to coming to the assistance of others, it's not in our nature to ask for help. Now we are asking for your help," Polomy said. "The diagnosis is that Erik’s lungs were somehow injured, probably from an infection he'd been harboring."
His colleagues are updating Conde's progress on social media, using the hashtags #HulkWatch and #HulkStrong.
"He's really earned that nickname. He's a big guy and his strength is incredible when we are fighting fires," Polomy said.