Eight inmates broke out of a holding cell in Parking County, Texas, not to escape justice but to tend to a lone guard who suffered a heart attack.

It all occurred on June 23. The inmates were conversing with the corrections officer, even joking with him, when, according to inmate Nick Kelton, he suddenly “fell over.” Realizing what had happened to the officer, Kelton and his fellow inmates decided to take action.

Still bound by handcuffs, these inmates used their collective weight to push their way out of their cell, after which they yelled for help.

When they realized that the jail officer’s pulse had gone, they increased their volume; they screamed and banged against the walls of the room to get the other officers’ attention, risking their own lives in the process.

“We were worried they’re going to come with guns drawn on us,” said Kelton, according to local news channel WFAA.

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Thankfully, the guards who arrived took time to assess the situation and did not rush into responding with violence, but Sgt. Ryan Speegle admits he didn’t know what to expect when they entered the room.

“He had keys,” Speegle said. “Had a gun. It could have been an extremely bad situation.”

Authorities believe something worse could have happened to the guard if the inmates didn’t call for help. Captain Mark Arnett says the inmates’ quick and selfless action helped save the guard’s life

“He could have been there 15 minutes before any other staff walked in and found him,” Arnett said.

Kelton is a meth addict on his fourth trip to prison. “It never crossed my mind not to help whether he’s got a gun or a badge. If he falls down, I’m gonna help him,” he said.

More on the story from USA Today.