Richfield Fire Department fire chief has heart attack, expected to recover

Richfield Fire Chief Wayne Kewitsch Richfield Fire Chief Wayne Kewitsch

KSTP & Callan Gray
Updated: July 02, 2020 06:39 PM
Created: July 02, 2020 09:38 AM

The Richfield Fire Department fire chief suffered a heart attack Wednesday morning, according to the fire department.


Just before 8:30 a.m., Fire Chief Wayne Kewitsch suffered from a cardiac arrest while at home.

His family quickly recognized the event and initiated the cardiac "chain of survival." After calling 911, his family started chest compressions and was quickly replaced by Edina police and paramedics.

Kewitsch lives less than half a mile from an Edina fire station, allowing the life-saving crew to arrive quickly.

He was transported to the University of Minnesota's hospital.

According to the fire department, Kewitsch was treated in the cardiac cath lab and is expected to make a full recovery.

“The fact that everything lined up the way it did, and the outcome is the way it is, we're very fortunate,” said Assistant Chief Mike Dobesh.

He called the work by Edina paramedics “exceptional.”

“By the time we got to the University of Minnesota Hospital to stand with his family, the prognosis was pretty good, which was amazing from the initial call to the point where they got there,” said Dobesh.

He was able to speak with the chief over the phone on Thursday.

“He knows that he basically flipped the coin and it came up the right way for him,” said Dobesh. “He’s looking forward to being moved from ICU to a normal unit, with any luck he'll be out of the hospital this weekend. It's amazing actually to be talking to him 24 hours after the event, looking forward to his discharge. It's a pretty amazing story.”

He added that Chief Kewitsch is not only his boss but a friend, calling the uncertain hours on Wednesday morning “tough.”

Support has been pouring in from across the country.

“He’s very well respected as a fire chief,” said Dobesh. “I think now that we know he's going to be okay there's a lot of people breathing a sigh of relief.”

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