'Firefighters saved my life,' rattlesnake victim says


A Polk County man believes that he wouldn't be alive if it weren't for members of Polk County Fire Rescue. 

Jerome Roddenberry was bitten April 9 by a 5 1/2 foot rattlesnake at the River Ranch hunting grounds. 

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Officials said someone shot the snake in the midsection and Roddenberry thought it was dead, so he picked it up. The snake bit him on the hand. 

PHOTOS: Polk County man recovers from rattlesnake bite

When fire rescue crews arrived, they realized that Roddenberry needed advanced medical care. He was airlifted to Osceola Regional Medical Center so he could receive antivenin. 

Officials said Roddenberry received 32 vials of antivenin at the hospital. 

Roddenberry was reunited Friday with some of the firefighters who rescued him. 

INTERACTIVE: Learn about the Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake

He told firefighters that the bite didn't hurt but "things got bad fast."

Roddenberry said he couldn't take more than 10 steps after the bite and he couldn't remember anything that happened after that. 

"You saved my life," he told firefighters. "You kept me going until I got to the hospital." 


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