Investigators seek clues after bullet fired at Vallejo fire station

VALLEJO (KTVU)  – Vallejo Fire Station No. 24 was struck by gunfire last week and investigators were searching for clues to determine where the bullet came from.

Vallejo Fire Department spokesman Kevin Brown said a bullet hole in the front window was discovered on Tuesday, Dec. 6, leading firefighters to believe the shooting happened either overnight or while they were out on an emergency call.

No one was hurt, but the potential for damage or worse was possible since the bullet entered an office where people work every day.

The three-person crew on duty at Station 24 on Oakwood Avenue was either asleep or out on a call when the shot pierced the building's front window.

Officials say the incident was likely random since there does not appear to be a reason why Vallejo firefighters would be targeted.

Brown said firefighters were upset because Station No. 24 serves as a second home for the public servants. Pictures of the damage were posted on the Vallejo Firefighters Facebook page.

"We eat here, we sleep here, we cook here with what we refer to as our second families," said fire apprentice Brandon Whitney.

Brown said the window struck by the bullet is for his office, which he shares with paramedics. He said they were lucky no one was hurt. The bullet was found lodged in a box of medical gloves.

Station 24 is in Vallejo's Sringstown neighborhood and is one of the city's three busiest stations. Veteran firefighter-paramedic John Barbuzano said he wasn't surprised by the bullet, given crime in the area.   

"Middle of the night, 2 or 3 in the morning you hear random shootings and those bullets have to land somewhere," Barbuzano said. "If you can hear them around the station, they're close-by."  

“This is, unfortunately, not the first time we have had a station struck by gunfire,” Brown said. “Several years ago, Station 25 in North Vallejo was struck several times. 

"Additionally, Station 21 was broken into several years ago while the crews were responding to an emergency," Brown said. "Several firefighters' personal belongings were stolen.”

The library branch next to Station 24 has a security camera, which catches some of what happens in front of the fire station, but not much.  This incident, along with the previous breaches, may prompt the department to give surveillance systems some consideration. 

Currently, however, none of the city fire stations have cameras.

"There are no off' hours," Brown said. "We don't close at 5 pm so a bullet coming here at any time is dangerous to us."

Brown said the Vallejo Police Department has begun an investigation. Anyone with information was asked to call police.

KTVU reporters Debora Villalon and Cristina Rendonm contributed to this report.

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