CORNELL (WQOW) - The Cornell Area Fire Department is rallying behind one of their own after a firefighter was shot by a gun that discharged due to heat from a fire, ending up in the hospital.
"He went from work and he was on a hose line spraying water. This was probably at least an hour into the fire when he was struck by a bullet that was shot out of a gun inside the house," said Fire Chief Dennis Klass, of the Cornell Area Fire Department.
The incident happened on February 19 in the Township of Willard near Sheldon.
"It's kind of a scary thing for every fire department in our area," Klass said. "This is hunting country and I would guess there's probably 75-80% of the homes have loaded guns in their house, so it is something you have to deal with. You don't think about it until it happens."
Marc-On Shooting Sales Manager Joe Anderson said even though an accident like this is very uncommon, it's still possible if the gun powder ignites inside the casing.
"To really pose that mortal threat, in terms of getting shot with it, the round would have to be chambered in the chamber of the gun and then it would have to get heated up to the point that the gun can basically harness that pressure and direct that pressure to push the bullet down the barrel and out of the gun," Anderson said.
After a team debriefing, Klass said for future fires, they plan to ask homeowners if there are any firearms in their home so they can cool down that area right away.
In the meantime, Fredrickson has gone through three surgeries due to the incident.
"We are giving Justin's family moral support, financial support at this time. Our insurance company has been good. They are taking care of him at this time, so hopefully everything turns out for the best," Klass said.
If you'd like to help Fredrickson, you can send a donation through any Northwestern Bank location to 'Cornell Volunteer Fireman' with the memo 'Justin Fredrickson."