America’s firefighters willingly put themselves in dangerous situations every day to preserve property and save lives. But when danger comes to them, many are prepared to meet the challenge with firepower of their own. Following are the stories of four firefighters who were able to keep their cool when the heat was on.
Homeowner and firefighter Curtis Freeman defended himself and his family from an intruder in Tulsa, Okla. The incident began when a criminal broke the window on Freeman’s back door to gain access to the master bedroom. Upon hearing the broken glass, Freeman called to notify the police of the break-in. Once inside, the criminal made his way to the hallway, where Freeman shot him with a handgun. The intruder was taken to a local hospital with multiple gunshot wounds, where he is expected to recover. Police have said the criminal will be charged with first-degree burglary upon release. Freeman has cooperated with an investigation by the police, who have stated that Freeman was the victim in the incident. (The Tulsa World, Tulsa, Okla., 11/5/2008)
"It's more than fighting fires. If somebody is in trouble, we're going to show up," said Sipsey Valley volunteer firefighter James "Buddy" O'Hanlon. O'Hanlon was one of about 30 armed volunteer firefighters who responded within minutes to an emergency call from their chief, L.A. Marlowe, who had just been robbed and shot at outside of his Buhl, Ala., store. One suspect was spotted before he made it 100 yards and was cornered in the woods by the army of firefighters, who apprehended him. Sheriff's deputies quickly arrested another robber who had been identified by the firefighters, and a third suspect was apprehended later. (The News, Tuscaloosa, Ala., 1/12/1995)
A burglar making the rounds through a Philadelphia apartment building made a big mistake when he broke into Jack Arnold's place. The off-duty firefighter was awakened by a banging on his front door. After calling 911, he retrieved his gun and hid in the bathroom. When the burglar broke down the front door, Arnold confronted him. That's when the bandit raised a crowbar and attempted to strike him. But before he could land a blow, Arnold fired two shots from his .32, critically injuring his assailant. No charges were filed against Arnold. (The Inquirer, Philadelphia, Penn., 8/31/1994)
Atlanta fireman Darrell Willis had stopped to use a pay phone when four armed men approached and demanded his car. Willis decided to fight back, drawing his own gun and shooting two of his attackers. Willis suffered a gunshot wound to his leg, and all four criminals were apprehended by police at a local hospital. (The Constitution, Atlanta, Ga., 7/20/1994)