Gunman shoots at Detroit fire engine from roof of abandoned church

Engine 50 L23
Quarters for Engine 50, Ladder 23, Chief 9 & Medic 15 on Detroit’s east side.

By Dave Mesrey
Motor City Muckraker

Detroit firefighters made an unsettling discovery Monday afternoon – a bullet hole in the windshield of their fire engine.

Firefighters were inside their station at Houston-Whittier near Gratiot on Monday afternoon when a bullet tore through a steel garage door and struck the windshield of Engine 50. Based on the trajectory of the bullet, firefighters believe the gunman was perched atop an abandoned church across the street.

Eight firefighters were on duty at the time.

“We’re lucky it didn’t hit anybody,” said one firefighter who spoke on condition of anonymity.

“It’s scary,” he said, “but it’s even scarier knowing you have no police protection.”

Firefighters didn’t call 911, saying police likely wouldn’t have responded because they are so understaffed.

Mayor Mike Duggan’s office said today that police are investigating.

The shooting appeared to be random, Fire Commissioner Jonathan Jackson said.

Engine 50 was featured in the critically acclaimed documentary “Burn.”

This isn’t first time Detroit firefighters have been targeted.

Last summer, thieves gutted several fire stations. In December 2012, someone tossed a molotov cocktail at Engine 58’s quarters on the east side.  And in September 2012, thieves stole a ladder and other equipment from a rig while it was at the scene of a fire.

Dave Mesrey

Dave Mesrey is a veteran copy editor who’s worked for the Metro Times, Hour Detroit, and ESPN’s The editor of Willie Horton’s autobiography, “The People’s Champion,” Mesrey was also an associate producer of the 2013 Tiger Stadium documentary “Stealing Home.”

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