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Minn. foundation continues call for body armor after bullet strikes firehouse, apparatus

The St. Paul Fire Foundation stated there are over 400 firefighters still needing ballistic vests


St. Paul Fire Department Station No.9

St. Paul City Government

By Mara H. Gottfried
Pioneer Press

ST. PAUL, Minn. — A stray bullet struck a St. Paul fire station Monday evening, causing minor damage to a fire engine and ambulance inside, according to the police and fire departments.

Firefighters were inside the building, but no one was in the vehicles and there were no injuries.

Shooting victims are sometimes brought to fire stations for help, but St. Paul firefighter union president Mike Smith said he doesn’t recall another time that a fire station was struck by gunfire in his 26 years on the job.

“It’s our job to know our surroundings and the neighborhoods we work in, so we are concerned,” Smith said.

Multiple people reported shots fired on the Greater East Side about 7:15 p.m. Monday. Officers responded to an apartment complex at 1619 E. Maryland Ave. and found spent casings and a bullet fragment in the parking lot, according to a police report.

A bullet struck Fire Station 9, across the street from the parking lot, and a spent bullet fragment was found in the garage.

Earlier Monday, in an unrelated incident, shots were fired outside another St. Paul fire station.

Officers found eight 9mm casings in front of Fire Station 7 in Dayton’s Bluff neighborhood, according to another police report. It happened about 1:35 a.m. Monday on Ross Avenue near East Seventh Street.

A firefighter saw a male lying on the ground, and two people put him in a vehicle and sped off, said Sgt. Mike Ernster, a police spokesman. The firefighter thought the person had dropped to the ground reflexively when the shots were fired, though officers found what appeared to be blood in the area.

Officers did not locate a shooting victim and police weren’t notified of anyone going to a hospital with a gunshot injury from the incident, Ernster said.

No one was under arrest in either case as of Tuesday.

Reports of shots fired without injuries are down in St. Paul this year. There were 292 reports as of Monday, compared to 305 at the same time last year and 560 during the same period in 2022, according to police department data.

People wounded in shootings are down 18 percent year-over-year in St. Paul , the department said.

Since Burnsville firefighter/paramedic Adam Finseth was shot and killed in the line of duty on Feb. 18, St. Paul Deputy Fire Chief Roy Mokosso said the firefighters he’s talked to are “more aware of potential risks and, when they’re responding to calls, they’re making sure scene safety is top priority.”

[RELATED: ‘Rest easy brothers': Over 10,000 attend memorial for Minn. first responders]

The St. Paul Fire Foundation posted on Feb. 20 about Shield 616, a nonprofit organization, helping in 2021 to equip 32 St. Paul firefighters with bullet-resistant vests.

[RELATED: Body armor: The new firefighter PPE]

“There are still 420 firefighters left unprotected,” the foundation wrote on social media, saying people can donate to the St. Paul Fire Foundation at and select the SPFD Bullet Proof Vest Initiative when donating.

[RELATED: Why fire and EMS agencies should invest in body armor – and how to afford it]

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