Firefighters Come Under Fire in FL, OK Incidents

Scene of a house fire and shooting in Osceola County, Florida.
Scene of a house fire and shooting in Osceola County, Florida. Photo courtesy of Osceola County Fire Rescue and EMS.

Firefighters have been shot at during two separate and unrelated recent incidents in Florida and Oklahoma, according to news reports.

On Friday, April 17, firefighters came under fire while trying to extinguish at fire at Optima Lake in Texas County, Oklahoma, according to ABC 7 Amarillo.

FOX 25 reported that a suspect was arrested in the case. The person allegedly set several fires in the Optima Wildlife Management Area and then shot at responding firefighters with a semi-automatic rifle. No firefighters were injured in the incident.

Then on Monday in Osceola County, Florida, firefighters responding to a house fire came under fire from a man apparently barricaded in the burning home, according to The Orlando Sentinel.

As firefighters began extinguishing the fire, gunfire erupted from inside the house and struck a fire apparatus, the report said. No firefighters were injured, however a man was found dead inside the home.

The attacks on firefighters come in the same time frame as a devastating mass shooting in Nova Scotia, Canada, left at least 22 people dead. The suspect in that attack reportedly was disguised as a police officer and shot at people inside their homes and set fires.

Firefighters are not strangers to facing violence when trying to save lives and property. In one of the most egregious cases in recent memory, two West Webster (NY) firefighters,  Michael John Chiapperini and Tomasz Marian Kaczowka, were murdered while responding to a fire on Christmas Eve in 2012. And in 2018, veteran Long Beach (CA) Fire Captain David Rosa was slain and another firefighter was injured in a shooting while responding to an explosion at a retirement home.

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