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Today in YFD History: December 5, 2016 Firefighter Shot

At 20:53, the Youngstown Fire Department was dispatched to a reported house fire at 2115 Elm Street on the city’s North Side. On the initial alarm were Engine 7, Engine 12, Engine 6, Squad 33, Ladder 22, Battalion 1 and Battalion 2. Engine 7, quartered 1.1 miles away, was the first arriving unit and reported a working fire at Elm and Halleck. At 23:12, dispatch asked for PD to respond to the scene for an SUV that drove through the fire scene and was traveling down Elm Street. At 23:17, Ladder 22 also asked dispatch if YPD was responding to the scene and dispatch advised they were enroute. Ladder 22’s radio traffic asked dispatch to have the PD “step it up”.  According to news reports, “firefighters became engaged in a verbal altercation with a man on the scene.” and when the police department was requested, the man left the area.

At 23:12, Engine 7 had just cleared the fire scene on Elm Street and were returning to quarters. Lieutenant Paul Lutton was driving the rig, Captain John Casey was in the passenger seat and Firefighter Dwayne Montgomery was in the back jump seat of the cab. As the truck made the turn from Elm onto Halleck Street, the crew saw a man standing in a driveway with a rifle.  The subject fired two rounds from an assult rifle at the passing fire engine. One bullet pierced the drivers side door of the rig hitting Lt. Lutton in the leg. A second bullet pierced the rear back passenger compartment narrowly missing Firefighter Montgomery’s torso and damaging his turnout coat. Captain Casey can be heard on the radio saying that there were “shots fired” followed quickly by a “firefighter down” message. Captain Casey could then be heard on the radio telling everyone to get out of the area and go around the block. As Youngstown Police Department units began arriving on the scene, a perimeter was quickly established and a search began for the shooter. Battalion 1 was requested by Captain Casey and on the radio, Fire Chief John O’Neill (Fire Control) and FIU could be heard responding as well. Lt Lutton was rushed by AMR Ambulance to Saint Elizabeth Medical Center with a non life-threatening gunshot wound to the calf.

WFMJ TV21 – Youngstown firefighter Paul Lutton was wounded and firefighter Dwayne Montgomery had a close call after being fired upon.

Youngstown Police used a K-9 to try and track the shooter who took off on foot after firing at the truck. Several vacant homes were checked by police as was the home where the shooter fired from. No suspect was found and police units began returning to service at 00:30 Tuesday morning.

Shortly after the incident, Fire Chief John O’Neill asked Police Chief Robin Lee and Mayor John McNally to allow police units to be dispatched along with firefighters when a call came in until the shooter was caught. The request was approved.

Lieutenant Lutton was released from the hospital the following day and was recuperating at home.

Youngstown Fire Chief John O’Neill talks to Vindy Radio on 12/8/2016

Police were able to identify the subject who was in the earlier altercation with firefighters during the incident. He was taken into custody around 4 pm Thursday and is expected to be arraigned and charged with “misconduct at an emergency” Friday. Police were awaiting the results of evidence sent to the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation before filing any additional charges.

Kurt Wright of the Fire Department’s Fire Investigation Unit said that the cause of the initial fire was under investigation and that firefighters had responded to a fire there back in June.

In addition to the fire on Elm , the YFD also responded to three other incidents. A unit was sent to Bissel to check for another possible fire which was not found. At 21:54, Squad 33 was dispatches for smoke in the area of 600 Delaware and at 21:57, Engines 3 and Ladder 24 were sent to 348 W Rayen on a fire alarm activation.

00:00 / 12:47

Compressed audio beginning 12/05/2016 at 20:50 through 12/05/2016 at 23:59.

Youngstown Vindicator Photo

Bullet Hole Trajectory

A YFD firefighter was shot after responding to this still smoldering house fire late Monday on Elk Street. He is expected to recover. Photo by Joe Gorman

WKBN TV27 – Firefighters were responding to a vacant house fire at Halleck and Elm streets when shots were fired toward them by an unknown person. This is all that remains of the house Tuesday.

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