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Stray bullet narrowly misses Ill. FF inside firehouse

“It was like Fallujah,” Camp Jackson Assistant Chief Sharon Davis said describing the New Year’s Eve gunfire

By Joshua Carter
Belleville News-Democrat

CAHOKIA HEIGHTS, Ill. — A stray bullet pierced a window at packed Camp Jackson firehouse on New Year’s Eve and narrowly missed hitting a firefighter.

The bullet came through the front bay doors two minutes before midnight and barely missed firefighter Miles Hogan, according to Assistant Fire Chief Sharon Davis. While the glass sits in a pile on the floor, the bullet is yet to be found in the firehouse.

“Miles went to get something from the truck and we heard the sound and suddenly there was glass on the ground,” Davis said.

The department recently ordered ballistic vests from Safelite but now hopes to increase its stock so all firefighters are protected. Davis said the first thing that came to mind after the event was the shootings in Alabama that took the lives of two first responders last July.

“There’s shooting every year, but this year was especially bad,” the assistant chief said. “It was like Fallujah. It went until four in the morning.”

Eight of the department’s members are related, a testament to the small community’s closeness, Davis said. Many of the firefighters were present when the bullet hit the building. The chief and assistant chief are husband and wife and many of their children and nephews are on the force. Two cats also roam the fire department as permanent members of the fire department family.

Davis said many firefighters spend a majority of their free time at the firehouse, including the assistant chief, who is still recovering from a leg injury from an apartment fire in October.

“We were just playing Monopoly when it happened,” Davis said. “We have eight of us here who are family, plus the cats, and those of us who aren’t family become family, so we’re glad no one was hurt.”

Davis said despite the risks, the firefighters have a mission to tend to.

“It was scary for sure, but we’re just going to keep on,” she said.

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