In the line of fire: Another shooting at a Trenton, NJ firehouse
TRENTON — From fighting fires to dodging the crossfire.
For the second time in a month, a capital city firehouse was riddled with bullets. This time, nobody was hurt.
At least eight shots were fired at the West Ward firehouse on West State Street late Thursday afternoon, according to union spokesman Kevin Soto.
The shots were fired exactly one month to the day in which bullets went through the window of the firehouse on Calhoun Street, hitting Soto in the arm as he worked out on an elliptical.
Soto said the bullets fired around 4:25 p.m. Thursday went through the window of the West State Street watch desk where firefighters rotate every two hours.
"Thank God no one was there but it went through the window in front of the firehouse and into a binder on the desk," Soto told New Jersey 101.5.
Soto said two men were exchanging gunfire in the street in front of the firehouse. Multiple casings were found in the street and also went through the window of a nearby home, according to Soto.
Still cleaning up from the first shooting
The shooting angers Soto, who said that proper repairs have not been made at the Calhoun Street firehouse after the first shooting. He said the holes in the window were poorly plugged, glass is still all over the floor and the refrigerator with a bullet hole has not been replaced. Soto would like bulletproof windows installed at all fire and police stations.
"It’s so upsetting and frustrating," he said. "It’s all a political show at the end of the day. Nothing is being done to protect us in the firehouses. We don't even have a proper working CAD system or lights and tones to notify us immediately when we have a call. It’s 2022 and we are living worse than the 1800s."
FMBA Local 6 President Andres Perez in a statement said that firefighters already have a dangerous job running into burning buildings and responding to EMS calls where violent crimes have been committed.
"These risks don’t usually consist of doing our duties at a watch desk and having gunfire erupt and actually hit the buildings and in within the past month actually hit a firefighter. The administration both fire and the city is usually reactive, however in these cases we have yet to see anything from our administration. This has been all too familiar in recent years with the uptick of crime and gunplay within the city" Perez said.
Ready for return to duty
Soto has been on therapy and receiving counseling from his shooting and said he told his doctor he was ready to return to active duty
"I’m ready to go back to be back with all my brothers and sisters and joke and laugh with them and serve the city of Trenton and face the music and overcome what happened to me now," Soto said. "I have to rethink that process and contact my therapist because this just gave me a horrible flashback."
Trenton residents Zaequan Cofield and Kena L. West were arrested and charged in the Calhoun Street firehouse shooting.
A spokesman for the city on Friday morning did not respond to New Jersey 101.5's request for more information.