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Hallandale Beach firefighter breathing on his own after sudden illness

He collapsed in fire station last month

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HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – A Hallandale Beach firefighter who suddenly fell ill last month is now breathing on his own.

Erik Conde, nicknamed "Hulk" by his co-workers, was nearing the end of his shift Dec. 28 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.

For the past several days, he has been treated at Aventura Hospital and Medical Center. Doctors there said he had a bacterial infection in his lungs. 

"Erik has been taken off the ECMO machine and the ventilator. He is currently still on oxygen but breathing on his own and in amazing spirits," said his wife, Rachel Conde. "Doctors and nurses say he is truly a miracle patient and beat the odds. We are so blessed but still have a long journey ahead."

Conde's co-workers have set up a GoFundMe page to help his family pay his medical expenses. The page has raised more than $45,000 in a week, with a goal of $100,000.