Lifeguard Tomas Lopez Fired After Helping Rescue Swimmer Outside Beach Zone (VIDEO)

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First Posted: 07/04/12 06:05 PM ET Updated: 07/05/12 10:47 AM ET

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. -- Lifeguard Tomas Lopez helped save a drowning man and got fired for it.

The reason: He left the section of a south Florida beach his company is paid to patrol. The Orlando-based company, Jeff Ellis and Associates, says Lopez broke a company rule and could have put beachgoers in his section in jeopardy.

By the time Lopez arrived, witnesses had pulled the drowning man out of the water. Lopez and an off-duty nurse helped him until paramedics arrived. The victim survived and was hospitalized.

Afterward, Lopez was fired.

Two other lifeguards have quit in protest.

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