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Boston firefighters avoid being shot during apartment fire

A barricade situation in Mattapan ended with an arrest after a man fired a shot as firefighters arrived to fight a fire

By Jackson Cote

BOSTON — The suspect accused of firing a gun while first responders tried to put out a fire at an apartment building in Boston on Saturday has been arrested, according to authorities.

SWAT units and hostage negotiators with the Boston Police Department responded Saturday afternoon to the scene of the standoff and fire at 50 Fairlawn Ave. in Mattapan, secured the apartment building and evacuated the remaining residents from within the structure, Boston Police Commissioner Michael Cox said at a press conference. Drones were also used during the emergency.

Police eventually located and arrested the suspect, whose name has yet to be released to the public by authorities. He suffered a slight injury to the lower part of his body, likely from a fall. Nobody else was injured, according to Cox.

Firefighters initially responded to the apartment fire at about 11:40 a.m. before hearing gunfire. By about 2:40 p.m. , city officials announced the man’s arrest and the fire was knocked down.

Following the suspect’s arrest, fire crews returned to extinguish the blaze, Cox detailed. Photographs posted to social media by the Boston Fire Department showed firefighters scaling ladders at the apartment building as smoke billowed out of the structure.

“We have no reason to believe that there’s any, certainly any reason for people in the area to be concerned about this. We believe that this incident is certainly resolved,” Cox said.

First responders, including police officers and firefighters, encountered flames, gunfire and the barricaded suspect while responding to the blaze at the apartment building shortly before 11:40 a.m. Saturday, Officer Jason Villanueva, a spokesperson for the Boston Police Department, told MassLive.

“We don’t know at who, but a shot was let off,” Villanueva said.

A Code 99 was declared, which meant there was a “special threat situation” involving a barricaded suspect, according to Villanueva.

Mayor Michelle Wu, who spoke at the press conference, noted Boston’s “first responders are ready at a moment’s notice for whatever might come” and handle emergency situations, like Saturday’s, “with the utmost professionalism.”

“And you see here today, also, our first responder agencies really keep each other safe,” Wu added. “The fact that Boston Fire was out and then needed a police response to back them up and then went back in and knocked down the rest of the fire with no one harmed in that situation—everybody’s safe—it’s really just a testament to how well-trained, how professional and dedicated our first responders are and how lucky we are as a city to have them.”

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Boston Fire Commissioner Paul Burke said in a statement Sunday he is “grateful that the fire and active shooter incident yesterday did not result in any injury to our firefighters, police officers or residents.”

“As firefighters our main focus at any fire is the rescue of residents and the extinguishment of the fire but this incident heightened the danger level for all of our first responders,” Burke said. “The multi-agency cooperation was a role model of how a coordinated response should work and undoubtedly saved lives.”

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