Church Fire: San Jose Firefighter in Medically Induced Coma

A 15-year San Jose firefighting veteran remained in critical but stable condition Friday, as doctors placed the 44-year-old in a medically induced coma to allow him to rest.

The news came a day after Francis "Frank" Ryan suffered cardiac arrest in helping to battle a three-alarm blaze that ripped through Saint Patrick Cathedral near downtown San Jose Thursday morning. On Friday, investigators still hadn't been able to determine what started the 11 a.m. fire.

Ryan was given immediate medical attention by his fellow firefighters. They said he had no pulse and was not breathing for a time, but his "brothers" brought him back to life before rushing him to the hospital.

Capt. Brian Endicott was one of those "brothers." He helped save his friend's life.

"You are trained to do this," Endicott told NBC Bay Area on Friday. "But you never expect to save the life of a friend."

Endicott said he's feeling "numb," as are the rest of the members of the SJFD. Just two months ago, a firefighter fell through a roof, Endicott said, adding that injuries are often part of the job.

Endicott described Ryan as someone you'd definitely want to fight fires with. "He was the first one in, and the last one out," Endicott said.

The cardiac doctor who treated Ryan said his fellow firefighters definitely saved his life. He added that Ryan came to work with "an angel on his shoulder."

Witnesses said the church fire caused glass from the cathedral windows to break and pop away crashing to the ground below. Smoke from the fire could be seen throughout the downtown area of San Jose. An NBC Bay Area viewer sent in photograph below showing smoke billowing from the building.

St. Patrick's is also a school. But the building that was on fire was the church which is a parking lot away from the school.

School officials said the students were safe and were evacuated to the play yard.

Saint Patrick Proto-Cathedral Parish is a personal parish of the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Jose and predominantly serves the Vietnamese community. It was founded in 1872, which makes it the second oldest Roman Catholic parish in the city. The oldest is the Cathedral Basilica of St. Joseph downtown.

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