CLEVELAND, OH Baltimore Firefighters were kept busy on Monday night fighting massive fires during the riots, but at one point, they became targets. Now Cleveland Firefighters are asking for extra precautions.
“It’s concerning,” said Frank Szabo, president of the Association of Cleveland Firefighters.
Cleveland Firefighters have been targets of violence in the past.
“We responded to an active shooter scene just a couple weekends ago. We do take calls on a fairly regular basis of homicides or other unsecured crime scenes, and so, it’s not uncommon for firefighters to be, unfortunately, the nature of the work, on a violent scene prior to the arrival of police,” explained Szabo.
Cleveland fire stations were shot at three times last year. The Firefighter’s Union is pushing for protective gear, like bulletproof vests. So far, the city seems receptive to the idea.
“About half of the demographic of similar fire departments across the country, we understand, have it. So, it’s not universal, but it is definitely an emerging trend in the fire service that we are looking at,” added Szabo.
For now, emergency crews are hoping the verdict in the trial of Cleveland Police Officer Michael Brelo won’t provoke something similar in the city.
“It’s unfortunate what is happening in Baltimore. We saw it happen in Ferguson last year, and so, it’s important that we are prepared here in Cleveland,” said Szabo.