Lauderhill firefighters surprised by gunfire during attempt to extinguish house blaze

LAUDERHILL, Fla. – Fire fighters have a dangerous job to begin with, putting out risky and potentially deadly fires.

They don’t expect to deal with gunfire in the process.

A holiday fire call turned dangerous Monday night with first responders dodging bullets after Lauderhill Fire Rescue crews arrived to the scene of a house fire that was possibly started by fireworks.

“The crews on scene last night were in a lot of danger, not only the fire crews but also some of the residents that were outside celebrating,” said Lauderhill Fire Rescue Lt. Joseph Panczak.

As firefighters were putting out the flames, numerous gunshots rang out while hundreds of people were out celebrating the Fourth of July along the 2100 block of Northwest 59th Terrace, sending stray bullets flying.

One of those bullets pierced a fire rescue truck windshield.

“When the crews got back to the station, that’s when they actually realized that one of the vehicles had the hit,” Panczak said.

Kenneth Jennings, who lives in the neighborhood, told Local 10 News everyone was celebrating the holiday and having a good time. He was stunned to learn about what happened.

“What goes up, must come down,” said Jennings. “Once again, having common sense, you should not be shooting any guns at all in the air, down low, regardless.”

Fire rescue crews treat people with wounds from stray bullets all the time and say people don’t realize how dangerous indiscriminately firing into the air can be.

“As the bullet trajectory comes down from the sky, you are looking at possibly being struck in the head from a stray bullet and it’s traveling at a speed that is potentially life-threatening,” Panczak said.

Thankfully no injuries were reported.

Authorities have not said whether any arrests were made.

About the Author:

Sanela Sabovic joined Local 10 News in September 2012 as an assignment editor and associate producer. In August 2015, she became a full-time reporter and fill-in traffic reporter. Sanela holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in communications with a concentration in radio, television and film from DePaul University.