ArcelorMittal Burns Harbor steelworkers credited with saving colleague's life

Burns Harbor employee Kevin Coffman (second from left) credits his co-workers Steve Leto, far left, Jonathan Lynch, (second from right) and Joe Magallanes (far right) with saving his life after he had a heart attack.

ArcelorMittal Burns Harbor transportation service technician Kevin Coffman last remembers reading a book in the break room after lunch while his shift was winding down.

Coffman suffered a heart attack at the steel mill in March, and fears it would have been fatal if three colleagues — Jonathan Lynch, Joe Magallanes and Steve Leto — did not step in and save his life.

“There are no words to express how thankful I am that those guys reacted so quickly to help me. My doctors told me that if it wasn’t for them knowing what to do, this could have had a very different ending,” Coffman said, according to an ArcelorMittal press release. “From the bottom of my screwed-up heart, I’m forever grateful to these guys. I hope I never have to do anything like that for them someday, but if I do — I got them.”

The technicians in the maintenance, engineering and utilities yard at the ArcelorMittal Burns Harbor steel mill were on call in the break room on March 19 when Leto saw that Coffman was immobile with his eyes wide open and appeared distressed.

“His body was tense and I grabbed him asking, ‘Kevin, are you OK?’ But he didn’t respond," Leto said. "That’s when I called for Joe and Jon saying, ‘I think Kevin’s having a heart attack.’” 

Leto called for help from EMTs at the mill in Porter County, while Lynch and Magallanes started performing CPR, doing compressions and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Lynch grabbed a defibrillator and applied a shock to Coffman's chest.

Then they kept doing CPR, alternating between them, until paramedics arrived at the scene in a few minutes.

“These two guys are the real heroes,” Leto said. “They brought Kevin back to life and kept him going until the EMTs took over. These guys did exactly the right things because they were trained and today, Kevin is alive because of them.”

Coffman was taken to a local hospital and operated on. He's expected to make a full recovery.


Business Reporter

Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.